Contemplating graduation brings with it a tangled mess of emotions that resembles nothing more than a shrieking, biting ball of moray eels.
As a person who prefers to remain dead inside, this is unpleasant in general; as a writer faced with the Herculean task of summarizing these emotions in paragraph form, this is even worse. Below you will find my attempt to browbeat the eels into something resembling coherence.
The first emotion that swims to the surface is an understandable disquiet at the fact that I’m not technically “done.” I’m done at Bradley, of course. No super-seniors here. But I’m not done with my education. I’m going straight into law school in the fall, so this graduation (or lack thereof) doesn’t really symbolize my moving into the world of gainful employment and 401k’s and whatever else adults do.
I’m comfortable with my choice. I want to get all my schooling done at once, and I’m positive I want to be a lawyer. But, I’ll admit to a little impatience with all the emphasis people keep putting on it. I’m not finishing school, after all. Just undergrad.
I also feel an odd sense of guilt, like I’ve enjoyed myself too much. I don’t mean that in the usual way a college student might enjoy herself (I’m not a partier, mom!). I mean that I liked learning, I liked my classes, I liked almost every professor I ever had. I’m not a perfect student, and I definitely dozed through a couple 9 a.m. classes, but I was, for the most part, happy to be there. Even my job at The Scout was fun, despite the annoying losers who edited this.
I don’t think I slacked off, per se. I had some challenging extracurriculars. I worked hard for my grades. But, I picked majors I loved and 90 percent of the work was reading and writing, which is literally what I do for fun all day. So there’s guilt. I feel like this whole thing should have been less fun.
I am also sad. I will miss people. I got close with my advisers and the professors in various departments. I’ll miss wandering into their offices and taking up too much of their time. I’ll miss chatting in the English department office and the rousing cheer when I brought in snickerdoodles.
I’ll miss The Scout office, with its giant beanbag,the blackboard full of memes and the chairs that slowly sank to the ground as you sat in them. I’ll miss the loud, jostling group of us. I am not the sort of person who makes friends easily. I enjoy my own company; I dislike expressing strong emotion. Nevertheless, I would be remiss if I did not explain how deeply fond I am of the group of people I met working at The Bradley Scout. I felt accepted immediately; we had a lovely dynamic, filled with laughter and affectionate mockery. I will miss them all very much.
A lot of the affectionate mockery was from me. I’m not sorry for any of it, but I am sorry for swearing so much that I made everybody else’s language worse. I’m also sorry I never made Larry those gluten-free cinnamon rolls. Blame coronavirus.
Those are all kinds of negative emotions, aren’t they? Very vicious eels. Here’s a positive one, though it seems silly when I type it out: I’m proud of myself. I’m proud I moved across the country from my parents and learned to do laundry and only set the fire alarm off 10 or 15 times. I’m proud that I got good grades and earned two degrees and figured out what I want to do with my life. I’m proud that I put myself out there to make friends. I’m proud of the last four years, and I’m looking forward to what comes next.