When I graduated from University in June, I wore a shirt and tie, received a diploma on stage in front of hundreds of blurry faces, and took pictures with family and friends. I knew what the day meant. I knew what it represented. I knew it was the final page of a novel much longer than a J.K. Rowling classic. I also knew that, come September, I would not be returning.
Well, it’s September. And as I sit here typing at 2AM, I am overcome with sadness. School officially starts in six hours and for the first time in my life, I won’t be anywhere near a classroom. I knew I would miss it, I just didn’t think it would be this soon. Today, it hit me like a brick to the forehead.
Knowing that most of my friends are back at school certainly doesn’t help. I’m currently stuck between wanting to know everything that is going on, and not wanting to hear a single word from anyone.
I don’t know if everyone feels this way when they graduate. I would imagine that some people jump right into a full-time job and never look back. I wish I could do that, but I am not wired that way. Too many rear-view mirrors in my head.
When everyone moved back to school a few days ago, I felt odd. I still feel odd. I feel like Kevin in the Home Alone movies. I feel like I forgot to move back. I feel like I’m late, very late. I feel like I lost my membership card to an exclusive club and got denied entry at the door.
I think we are all familiar with the lyric: “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” This is true.
Well, the following verse reads: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” I feel like my parking pass has expired.
I miss my friends.
I miss waking up in residence, glancing over at my clock with one eye partially open, and then making the split-second decision of waking up or going back to sleep for another fifteen minutes.
I miss walking around campus.
I miss timing my trip to the cafeteria for exactly 11:40AM – when all the food is out and I have a twenty minute head start on everyone coming from class at noon.
I miss staring down the individual in the cafeteria who changes the channel on the TV from TSN to CNN.
I miss texting my friends and making plans to meet somewhere.
I miss having to apologize for being a few minutes late.
I miss going for walks on campus at night.
I miss taking the bus for the first time of the year and forgetting which way the card swipes.
I miss sitting in the library by myself and studying until I am told to leave.
I miss arriving to exams with 30 minutes of sleep and leaving with a 90%.
I miss hearing people complain about their marks.
I miss having people tell me about their problems.
I miss late-night meals.
I miss sitting at a table cracking jokes with friends.
I miss going to class and sitting in my unassigned, assigned seat.
I miss going to class and seeing someone sitting in my seat – the one I’ve been in for the entire semester.
I miss intramurals. Oh man, do I miss intramurals.
I miss giving pre-game speeches that never work.
I miss playing video games with my roommate.
I miss being woken up from naps because someone is banging on my door, as if a fire is about to set me ablaze.
I miss hearing people call penne, “tubes”, because they aren’t Italian.
I miss eating pasta with sausage/shrimp and alfredo sauce for dinner.
I miss falling asleep at 7PM because the aforementioned pasta knocked me out.
I miss going to my friends’ houses and being served food.
I miss streaming sports on my laptop.
I miss pulling all-nighters to finish assignments.
I miss the view that greets me outside my window at 6AM after an all-nighter. (See above).
I miss calculating how many hours of sleep I will get right before I fall asleep.
I miss walking across the street to Tim Hortons and McDonald’s.
I miss the deadly wind on campus that can knock your socks off, whether you’re wearing shoes or not.
I miss following a routine.
I miss waking up every day and not knowing exactly what will happen that day.
I miss navigating my way through crowded hallways.
I miss leaving for a class on the other side of campus, 8 minutes before it starts, and arriving with my calves writhing in pain.
I miss it. All of it. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
I wish I could go back. I can’t. I wish I can relive every single moment a hundred times over. I can’t. I wish I were there. I’m not. I’m far away from it all, observing as an outsider. Observing as a member of society with a University degree. As a person unsure of what the future holds. As a person unwilling to forget about the last four years because of how great they were.
I didn’t write this entry so people can feel sorry for me. Nor did I write it so people can tell me to look forward to the future. I will be fine. I wrote it because I thought it was important to get this off my chest. I wrote it for the people in my position who might feel the same way – and if you don’t, I hope to be where you are one day, soon. I wrote it for the people currently in school, so they can cherish every single second of the experience.
I know I have to move on and I will. But for today, I can’t do that. The feeling of being somewhere, besides school, during the first week of September, needs getting use to.
Graduating was great. It is an achievement of which I am very proud. But to me, school was always more than a diploma. There is no piece of paper in this world that can replace the experience or the memories that were made outside of the classroom. It is the making of those memories that I will miss the most.