For the past two years, I’ve told people that I’m “almost done with school” or “hopefully graduating.” Whenever I said either of those things, my voice was tinged with excitement and restlessness, despite the fact that my graduation kept getting pushed back further and further. Now that I’m actually (for real this time) about to graduate, I almost find myself dreading my last day of classes.
I was on my lunch break earlier this week, and as I sat there eating, it suddenly hit me that I was staring down the barrel of the gun we call “adulthood.” Over the past year or so, whenever I would do something that was remotely in the spectrum of adult-like behavior, I’d get giddy and excited, feeling like I’m hitting major milestones (even if I was doing something as mundane as grocery shopping), only to be hit with the realization of “Oh wait, I’m not an adult yet because I’m still in school, and this ‘school’ thing is really ruining this ‘trying to be an adult’ thing.” Then I would walk out of the store with my Cheerios, feeling not so cheery-o (#sorrynotsorry).
Just like everyone else, I lived my entire life being in such a rush to grow up. I counted down the days til I got my license, til I could stop taking the bus to school, til I finished high school, til I started college, til I could move out on my own, til I finished college, and the list will no doubt go on and on. Once I accomplished any of those things, the countdown began for the next thing, and then the next thing after that. But as I’m crossing more and more things off of my “I’m No Longer A Child” bucket list, I found myself wanting to go back. And so here I am, about to cross yet another thing off of that list, not wanting it to end.
This coming school year will be my last, and I’ll have one foot in adulthood territory as I’ll be working full time, and the other in pre-grown up territory as I finish out my academic career. Even though I’m not done with school just yet, I already miss it. Sure, it will be nice to finally do away with the obligations of cramming for exams, finishing up last minute assignments, and fighting the reluctance to go to office hours. But what I’ll miss is the familiarity of a school campus and a set schedule. I’ll miss the social aspect of it – gasp – knowing I could run into a friend at any given moment. Being within the same confines as people who are currently on the same page of life I am has been so comforting, and I didn’t realize that until recently when I was thrown into an office full of people who have been grown ups for much longer than I have.
Maybe I’m being melodramatic, and maybe I’ve just had Paradise Fears’ “Reunion” on repeat and stuck in my head for far too long. But as I sat there on my lunch break, I told myself that I would make the most out of whatever time I have left as a student. I’m not going to rush into the next “adult” responsibility, and I’m going to stop counting the days til my next milestone birthday. If you’re reading this and currently still have a considerable amount of time left in school, I urge you to do the same. Some day soon, nostalgia will hit you hard, and you’ll wish you hadn’t been in such a rush to grow up.