OPINION: Autumn changes more than the leaves

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall,” and that’s how it used to feel.”

Fall used to mark beginnings— specifically, school beginnings. First, it was the green-tartan uniform-clad days of catholic school. Next, it marked my first foray into public school, when high school began. Then, fall meant it was time to try an Ohio education on for size.

No longer will fall mark a beginning. This fall, I graduate college and school will be a thing of the past.

This ending is one I’ve admittedly looked forward to for quite some time. I’ve dreamt of the liberation that must come with facing life without plan or purpose. I’ve dreamt of freedom. And I know I’m not the only soon-to-be-graduate who feels this way.

But as autumn encroaches once more to change moods and tree hues, it’s time to take stock of what we leave behind when we cross that stage. Just like all endings, this one will come with recognizing I took some things for granted.

One of those things is a person, my person. Laura Fox.

We met practically the first day of freshman year. In almost every observable sense, we seemed different. She was born in Belize, but raised in small-town Ohio, I was born and raised in Seattle. She had solidly secured her spot in a massive (and unsustainable) 20-person freshman year clique. I spent my first weeks crying alone in bed.

As that first autumn faded to winter, however, a new friendship filled the fallen leaves’ void. We spent more time together and three and a half years later we’ve shared a dorm, a haunted attic and a house. Our friendship is one filled with the joys and hardships of living. Our cups are filled with drink that we share delightfully and destructively.

She helped me find a new kind of freedom, one that I wouldn’t have found on my own. I will miss her incredibly.

If you’re graduating, please ask yourself: Who is your Laura? Are they a professor, to whom you’ve never expressed proper admiration? Or maybe they’re a coworker who took you under their wing. Whoever it is, now is the time to say what you’ve left unsaid.

Now is the time to love them like tomorrow isn’t an option. Because if you’re like me, come Dec. 15, it won’t be. 

Contact Madison Patterson 

at [email protected]