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 up late again, thinking of all the things I want and need to do. If you’re curious to see how my brain compartmentalizes things, it happens in bullet points, like so:
I have been lazy for the majority of my summer, and on one hand, I don’t regret it. I took on far too much last semester, and I had resolved to make my vacation between semesters as stress-free as possible.
On the other hand, I’ve been lazy for the majority of the summer. I’ve been waking up as late as five-o’-clock in the afternoon for the past few weeks, and I’ve gone through the same routine. I wake up, eat and/or watch YouTube videos, have dinner with my family, then either get straight back into watching videos or playing an MMORPG. I do sometimes add to the fan fiction I talked about in a previous post, but aside from dates with my boyfriend and errands with my mom, I don’t get out much. That ordinarily wouldn’t bother me, except that now…it does.
Huh…sounds like the title of a novel. I’m not sure whether it would be a good novel or not, but I digress.
During every semester before a break, I yearn for said break. I look at everything I have to do for class, look at personal errands beside those tasks, and I count the days until I can be lazy as possible. The things I like to do when lazy during a break sometime manifest most clearly when I procrastinate for one reason or another. I watch YouTube videos, play a bit on my characters in an MMORPG, or browse the Internet mindlessly. When I’m in the thick of coursework and all the stress that comes with it, I wish for nothing more than respite in the form of not having to do anything related to academia.
The break we take for Summer is the shining jewel in the crown of this hope. I don’t just get weeks—I get months. There is suddenly so much time to spend pretty much however I want to spend it, and after all the stress of this last Spring semester in particular, this specific Summer break was something I sorely needed. I dreamed about not having to wake up early to catch a bus to campus for class, and instead being able to wake up whenever to do whatever as I pleased (for the most part). I reasoned that it would be a wonderful way to recover and prepare for my last semester (!!!) of undergraduate studies, and where Spring was hectic, Summer would be swell.
And then…then I remembered why part of me always gets sad around this time.
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.