It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Okay, maybe the worst of times is a little dramatic, but graduation certainly took my emotions on a roller coaster ride. Commencement weekend simultaneously filled me with elation, anxiety, pride, fear, and sadness. Walking across the stage to receive my diploma has leaped onto the list of top moments of my life so far, but the good-byes that followed did not exactly make the list. I haven't cried so much in a long time--I love my Oberlin friends more than I have the space (and time) to express in this blog. Driving away from Oberlin for the last time was an uncomfortably surreal experience--it felt as though I was leaving my life. Literally.
Fortunately, there isn't much time to mourn the loss of my undergraduate self because the future is quickly approaching. Next month, I will be moving to Syracuse, New York, in order to start working on my master's degree in journalism. It's a very well-respected program, and I will get to focus on newspaper, magazine, and online journalism. I'm pretty pumped to go to the Syracuse basketball games (if I have the time), but I am dreading the snow. Growing up in Michigan and living in Ohio has given me proper training, though--it should be a breeze (or a blizzard). In less than one year, I will be walking across another stage to receive another degree. Except this time, I will get to wear a fancier robe, and I doubt anyone will be bare-chested, adorned with an American flag, or strutting across the stage with a straw hat.
In the meantime, I'm enjoying my month of semi-relaxation at home in East Lansing, Michigan. So far, I've enjoyed utilizing my parents' new elliptical, watching movies, catching up with friends, and eating good food.
Despite being a legal adult for almost four years, this is the first time I truly feel like a "real adult." Yet it still hasn't hit me that I am no longer a college student--I can't seem take my Oberlin ID off of my lanyard. In Kohl's today, I was torn between shopping in my mother's clothing section and the juniors section. I could not find comfort in the 40- and 50-something shopping community, yet the talk of math class, detention, and prom in the juniors section made me feel like a grandma.
Even though I am no longer a college student, I know Oberlin will live in me forever. As I watched Carrie and the gang in "Sex and the City 2" last night continually poking fun at Muslim women, I kept finding myself wanting to whisper to my friend the problematic nature of it all, but quickly remembered everyone in the world isn't constantly on the lookout for ignorance and injustice as I have become trained to be. I wasn't able to major in journalism as an Oberlin student, but I know that I will be just as prepared (if not more) to look at the world critically, and write about it in a thoughtful, informed way. I'm pumped.
Change is hard, and leaving Oberlin is sad. But in times like these, there's no time for Charles Dickens--let's turn to Jay-Z. As the wise rapper once said, "on to the next one." Okay, I take that back. I guess I can't totally disregard Mr. Dickens. Indeed, this post is a tale of two cities: the life I'm leaving in Oberlin, and the life I'm starting in Syracuse. Oberlin served me well, but it's time for the next chapter--or maybe just for pictures.