Saying goodbye is never easy

Kellie Nock

I’m in the twilight of my life in academia. There is one month before graduation — that great, looming thing always lurking in the back of my mind.

It’s not the constant questions from everyone about what I’m doing after graduation that’s getting to me. Well, maybe part of it is. These questions do nothing to quell any nervousness or anxiety for the future, especially when I barely even know what I’m going to eat for dinner, much less what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.

What’s getting to me, perhaps, is the thought of leaving it all behind. This strict schedule of life that I’ve had since I was a child. Monday through Friday we go to school, and then in the summer, we don’t have school. But now, if you’re like me and not going to grad school, there won’t be any more school. I don’t know if I’m ready to confront the person I am outside of the only world I’ve ever really known.

I’m leaving behind many memories — many good, some bad. I’m leaving behind friends and familiarity in favor of entering the “real world.” What a concept, the “real world.” As if we students have been immune to the weariness of the world.

I’m sick of people calling it the “real world.”

There is a lot of fear in graduating, in leaving behind what you know so that you can contribute to society. Change can be a really scary thing, even when it’s good change.

But despite all of the nervousness and fear surrounding change, there is also a strange anticipation. Anticipation for the moment you walk across the stage and are handed your diploma. So much of your future can begin in that moment, no longer confined by the specifics of academia.

It may be sad to leave great things behind, the friends and the good times. But these are the types of memories that you can cherish forever, the parts of this section of your life that you can define it by. Sure, there was a lot of stress and studying and cramming, but you probably won’t remember that as much. You’ll probably remember sitting in your dorm freshman year, new friends in a new place, that feeling of starting anew.

That’s all that this is now — starting anew. It’s okay to be nervous, but don’t be afraid.

The future will be bright, just like it was then.

Kellie Nock is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected]