Check out that subtitle change, eh? “The Life of a Recent Mizzou Grad.” I realize that I have neglected to properly document my transition from student to alumna, but a girl has to have a life outside of her blog. For me, that meant cramming for a final Finals Week, celebrating graduation weekend with the family that loved and supported me through four years at Mizzou, and starting my summer internship. Talk about a quick turnaround.
The other day, I was talking with a friend about how different graduating from college was from graduating high school. Back then, it was a team effort. As a class, we grew up together. We went through the same classes, the same experiences, the same growing pains. In college, the possibilities abound. The varieties of classes, experiences, and growing pains increases exponentially. It’s more about finding who you are, as your own person. This individualized nature of higher education makes graduation a strange experience.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a blast to share such a milestone with friends and family. The accomplishment alone is enough to put a smile on my face; I have something to show for four years of hard work and dedication. It wasn’t what I was expecting though.
In high school, graduation countdowns were on every whiteboard (some even from the first day of senior year). There was a steady buildup to a premeditated, next step. Everyone knew what they were doing next, and we felt reasonably prepared to leave the safe bubble of home. We were excited for ourselves as a group, cheering each other on. There was still that camaraderie in college, but it felt different. I found myself gravitating toward friends from freshman year, happy to see how far we’ve come and how well connected we still were. In a time of such gladness, I couldn’t help but see it as the beginning of the end.
Now that college is over, we’re all going our separate ways. “Back in college” will now start half of our good stories at dinners and parties. We’ll reminisce over horrible professors and legendary events, but that’s all it will be. Memories. Our time for making college memories is over, and “we’re in college” is no longer an acceptable excuse for less-than-wise decisions. Things have changed.
The weirdest part about all this for me is that I still live on campus. A deserted, about-to-be-flooded-with-excited-incoming-freshman campus, but campus nonetheless. I feel different as an alum, I am different as a college grad, but my surroundings are still the same. I can’t tell if I’m stuck in a cocoon or if I’m hiding in a warm blanket. The exciting/terrifying truth is that I have to leave Mizzou to find out which one it is. Will I become that butterfly, or am I setting myself up for another Garfield Monday because my alarm is blaring at me too early?
I may have wandered off point with the second option (I’ve had a lot of early mornings lately), but that’s where I am right now. I’m an alumna. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger, but now I yell “ZOU” at football games. Weird, but strangely satisfying. I’ll take it. Maybe change won’t be so bad.