Remember that old song we all sang when we left the 8th grade? It’s been kind of stuck in my head. Now you can share in the experience.
As graduation approaches, I have been in a constant state of turbulent emotion. I am excited to graduate, happy to be done with classes, to know that I accomplished something great here at UCF. Yet, in the back of my mind, I feel like life is a ticking time bomb. Here at UCF, at school, I have a great life. It took me a while to build it, and now that I have it, I’m not sure I’m ready to give it up quite yet.
I can do well in classes. I love campus, with its lawns and trees, the reflection pond, the library with its freezing basement and dusty literature shelves on the 4th floor. I love the Teaching Academy with its giant, spinning statue of a hand, Colbourn Hall, the crumbling home of the humble English Department, site of my thesis defense. I even love the crazy construction and the tiny trailer of a UWC I spent 30 hours a week in for so many months.
I will miss all of this, but mostly, I will miss the people. I will miss the people who have somehow become my family away from family, the people who make me laugh and smile, the people I can call at any hour, the people I share tea and tears with on a regular basis, the people who understand the crazy path I have chosen, the people who have made this city my home for the last four years.
I am afraid to leave them. I am afraid I will never find something so great again. I know that the relationships I value most will not end with graduation, that no distance can break them. Yet still, I am afraid. I don’t want to give up my ability to visit my best friend at any time, to walk across campus to share bagels and tea (or coffee) at Einstein’s, to drive to Starbucks and know that friends will be waiting there for me. I am afraid to leave everything I have grown attached to over the last four years. I have built a life here, a life that I love, and in a few short days, it will all be over. It will all change.
It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this fact, and I’m not entirely sure that I have 100%. I know that I am ready to move on, to start something new. I need a new challenge, a new setting, a new perspective. It will be healthy for me right now to get away from here, to start again. I’ve slowly come to understand that, as much as I am afraid, I am ready for this change. I am ready to embrace a new life, to create something fabulous again.
I will not lose what I have here. The things that matter most will follow me wherever I go. The people I love will always be with me. I may not be able to stargaze with my boyfriend at the reflection pond and I may not be able to share some Joffrey’s tea with my best friend, but I will still have what these people (and so many others) have given me. I will still be the person I am finally happy to be. My life will change, but I do not have to. I have changed so much since my first year here that I might not even recognize myself back then. I have become the person I’ve wanted to be for a while. I have grown, and just because I’m moving does not mean I have to lose that. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Well, I am ready for a change. I am ready to embrace the unknown and to attempt the impossible. Who’s with me?