I graduate in 28 days. Twenty. Eight. Days. I can’t even comprehend how fast this semester has gone. Usually I look at my phone’s “countdown to graduation” widget and think, oh, dear god, THAT many days left? But this semester that widget has looked more like a stopwatch. Every time I look at it I’m shocked. Wait, how many days left? How many weeks is that? There’s so little time!
There’s three final projects to finish, a graduation stage to walk across, a ton of preparation for my Europe trip, packing up my entire apartment, signing a new lease across the state, scheduling movers, moving, and, most importantly, hours of celebration. All this before the end of June!
My feelings about this are exactly how I expected and nothing like I expected. I’m deliriously excited. Maybe more excited than I have ever been about anything in my life. I’m filled with a huge sense of fulfillment and pride for everything I’ve accomplished – things that, had you told me about them five years ago I’d have said, nope, forget it, too much work, I’ll just stick with graphic design, kthanks. But I took the first step even though I didn’t see the whole staircase (thanks Dr. King for that lovely quote), and I kept taking steps, and to my shock, here I am one step from the top. No way!
I graduated once before, and I believe I was excited for that. I know I was happy to be finished. But I don’t remember the sense of joy and relief and amazement that I’m feeling right now. Art school was a lot of work. And I was proud of the work I’d done. But it was a very different kind of work. I think I always knew I could get through art school. It didn’t scare me. I was never afraid I couldn’t do it. Engineering has scared me every day for five years. And I’ve conquered that, and the feeling is unbelievable.
But the unexpected feelings? Not wanting it to be over (what??). I deliberately planned my schedule so that my second-to-last semester would be a doozy (and was it ever) and my last semester would be a bit more low-key. Well I’d like to go back and buy a beer for Second-to-Last-Semester-Steph and reassure her that even though life is hell, she made the right choice and next semester is going to be awesome. So, five years of waiting for it to end, and one final semester of actually enjoying being a full-time undergraduate without a job for the last time ever in my life.
I’ve got a beer and liquor class that consists of short lectures once a week and four “labs” that consist of going to a local bar, sampling a variety of beers and liquors, filling out a sheet with my thoughts about them (“The Scotty Karate ale was delicious and had a complex flavor with hints of caramel and nuts. One of my favorites of the day.”) and getting an A. I’ve got an Alternative Energy class that I find completely fascinating and isn’t terribly stressful. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with my team on a thoroughly interesting, adequately challenging and really fun senior design project that I’m really proud of (I never thought I’d say anything positive about an engineering design class, but there you have it).
So I’m happy but with that anticipation of sadness. I’ve been so busy and so preoccupied and so desperate-for-it-to-end that I haven’t fully appreciated the fun of being at this school and being around so many unique people (students and professors), and I know once it’s all over and the quiet settles in, I’m going to miss it. I’ll leave the area and come back for a tailgate here and there and so many things will have changed and I won’t feel connected to the place like I do now. I remember feeling that way after I moved away the first time. Such is life, but it’s a little sad.
But enough about sadness, because 99% of my feelings are like:
On that note, I’ll sign off. Hope you’ll be hearing more from me soon!