In my last post, I talked about an upcoming commencement ceremony at my university, the one where I would turn my tassel and formally celebrate my Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Now, I’m going to tell you how it went.
I’ve said it in much the same way to anyone who will listen for months on end: Although it took eight years, three schools, and one change in my major, I am FINALLY graduating with a bachelor’s degree!
Those numbers are worth noting (and repeating) because it’s so drastically different from my original plan. I graduated from high school in 2010 with the expectation that I’d have a bachelor’s degree in music from the university I’d enrolled in, within three or four years. I anticipated a life fulfilling my purpose as a musician, but Life had a few things to say about that. As a result, I’ve gone back and forth, trudging through and taking successes where I could get them, all to get to Thursday, May 24th, 2018. That is when I will be walking in Commencement with my fellow graduates, with my family, friends, and loved ones watching on. It wasn’t an easy path, but I got there.
I need to write about it because I feel physically ill when I’m excited or anticipating some Great Big Thing, like this upcoming ceremony. I’ll chalk it up to nerves because saying happiness is making me feel sick sounds strange to some. I’m not worried about anything…at least, nothing I can come up with at the moment. As weird as it sounds, I’m looking forward to the ceremony too much. The hyped-up energy is building in me and I have no way to let it out, save for going through Commencement and putting a nice proverbial bow on the whole event. Writing provides some solace, though.
Tuesday marked my last day of undergraduate classes. I am on track to graduate this month, and to walk in commencement next May. After seven years, three schools, and two majors, I’m finally going to get a bachelor’s degree. This is something I’ve been waiting for, something I didn’t think would happen since I had to drop out of the first university I went to. When I felt like a failure, I didn’t think I’d ever be in this position, much less in the wake of all the changes I’ve made since then.
And yet…I’m not happy.
I’m done and should be happy
I’m done and should be happy but there is still empty
Shadows creep back in, embracing any good thing in sight
And hugs…hard. Tight. Unyielding. Unforgiving.
How dare you?
Why even try?
With the last stapled bunch, I end a chapter
In search of a book I’ve never known
A book that, for all I know, doesn’t even exist
I don’t know if I could write it
If that’s what it came to
There is no nostalgia
And if either existed for any length of time
The moment was brief
As if they never existed
Once I turned in my only final exam this last Tuesday, my second-to-last semester of university was done.
This was a semester unlike any I’ve had before. There was stress, which wasn’t new, but it was stress that came in different forms. Some of those forms were positive, while others were the usual negative. In any case, I got through it, and in the process I got to experience a number of unique experiences. There were a bunch of firsts that made my family proud, and I did some things I never would have expected to be courageous enough to do—and yet, I did them! This semester also stands out as my last full-time semester, since I just have one more class to take when Fall rolls around. Getting to this point in and of itself has been a journey in the making, something I’ve been wanting since I was a freshman for the first time seven years ago.
Two words keep coming at me: Graduate. School.
There have been a few professors who have mentioned it to me several times because they think I could do well. A provost even suggested that as the next step after the research competition award reception. So many people I started the program with are graduating, and I know some of them are going to attend graduate school.
It seems like a commonsense thought, so why is it the focus of the fourth installment in my Why My Brain Sucks series?