All of the best people I know that are older than me can be categorized by the fact that, at least once, they have said to me- “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”
At the end of high school and my senior year came and went, I only wanted to be done. I had no real attachment to high school, or to the people I was leaving, or to anything, really, except my music. The only thing I didn’t want to leave behind was playing oboe- but everything else I didn’t really have an attachment for. I went to graduation, didn’t have a party, came home, deleted 2/3 of my then-Facebook-friends, and began wholeheartedly to invest myself into the next step of my life- at that time, that next step was college.
I recognize myself as a person that doesn’t get excited easily. I appreciate things, and I have fun, and once I do get attached to something I am attached very, very strongly- but for me to feel any extreme of emotion easily is quite difficult. So I didn’t expect that, four years later, at the end of college, I would actually care very, very much.
They tell you at the beginning of college that in four years, “you’ll know exactly what you want to do!”
That’s a lie.
All I know is that I want to simply be. I want to spend a month teaching English to Tibetan monks while being ordained. I want to spend a month on a lavender and honey farm in France. I want to spend a few months backpacking Southeastern Asia. I want to tour the palaces of Russia and follow the history of the Romanovs. I want to ride the entire length of the Trans-Siberian Railway. I want to take a road trip across America. I want to read, every day, without interruption. I want to smell the Himalayas and see the Sahara and live in a library in Oxford. I want to float on a gondola in Venice.
What I don’t want to do is marry myself to one job track now, and find myself trapped at age forty in a life I never wanted and cannot escape.
They tell you that you make lifelong friends.
I don’t want to leave because I don’t want to leave my friends behind. I can’t imagine not living with Justin, or really not seeing him everyday. (First, he’s much more than just a friend and actually that’s going to be the hardest part and I can’t write about it right now because I’ll get too sad). I can’t imagine not seeing all of my Model UN friends (people I have grown quite attached to) every day. I can’t imagine not eating baba ganoush every Tuesday night at Le Kebab Grill while sipping tea with mint leaves as we plan our travels for spring. I can’t imagine not teaching new delegates, six or seven times a week (if not more), how to be leaders and diplomats and how to walk through life confidently. I can’t imagine not seeing how they change, always for the better, as they begin to learn to never apologize for what they have to say. I can’t imagine not spending hours and hours at Panthers’ games getting hit on by drunk dudes as we battle for who can win the most tips, and grumble at having to clean busted trash bags and burned nacho cheese and spilled beer.
I can’t imagine a lot of things, but life requires that change occur and time move on. I don’t know what I want to do, but I must decide. I don’t want to physically leave my friends behind, but I have to.
So as I start my senior year of college, it’s drastically different than starting my senior year of high school. I find myself in the unique position of caring very much about the community of which I am part. And so I’m walking through life purposefully. I take time to talk to everyone I can. I take time to eat lunch with my favorite professor, my personal Dumbledore/Gandalf (I fondly refer to her as Gandore or Dumblegalf). I take time to teach as many people as possible. I take time to do all of these things because, this time around, I care enough to cherish every moment, rather than wishing those moments away.
So here’s to sharing my senior year with everyone as I figure out the next step in life.