When you walk up the stairs to the third floor of Riley, there’s a countdown to graduation facing you. Watching as you climb the stairs, slower now that you’re crippled by the sight of your future plastered on the wall: 24 days. What you have left at Le Moyne bracketed into a space of time. A reminder that every memory and every occasion and every relationship in this life has an expiration date, and one of yours is coming up soon.
Everything college was and still is starts flashing through your mind, an old fashioned slideshow: each click a memory moving further away. College was staying up late drinking in the sinking daylight on a weeknight with your roommate. It was sipping down large cups of coffee, strong and black, to keep your eyes wide as you finished that paper due the next morning. It was crawling out of bed half dead and stumbling to class with your sweatpants dripping from inside your boots. It was throwing back shots before running down to the bus, only to find one bill curled in the corner of your wallet. It was feeling your feet stick to the sweet floor at Mully’s and then Clinton as you clumsily let the music wrap its stems around you. It was making out with that girl or that boy, never to really speak again but to smile softly when passing each other in the hall. It was falling in love, then breaking up, then falling in love again; often times with the same person. College: it was everything.
Maybe the tight feeling in your chest when you stare at that wall isn’t so much from the fact that your days at Le Moyne are being checked off, as much as it is from the uncertainty of it all. What happens when the countdown reaches zero? What happens then?
The idea of not knowing the answer is probably the most nerve wracking and anxious feeling for you. (And to all of you who already have your futures set with medical school, or graduate school, or jobs…Congratulations and you suck!) Sometimes I think that’s what we fear most, the not knowing, being lost. Being this balloon that just floats, waiting for the wind to pick up to gain some sense of direction.
It’s like a piece of you is preparing to break off, because that’s what happens when things end: you leave behind pieces of yourself. But isn’t that life? Parts of you get carried away; and some grow back while others return stronger, and then there are those that just stay lost…. And that’s okay, because it all contributes to your growth as a person. So don’t be afraid to be lost and get lost. To not know what you’re supposed to do, because all those people who seem so confident about the future are unsure too, they just don’t show it as much.
We live in a world of uncertainty, and rather than disapproving it I think more people should embrace it. Take it as an incentive to do what you want, even if it’s crazy because nothing is guaranteed. So move out to California even if you don’t have a job, and just have faith that things will work out for you. Take that job offer that doesn’t pay much but sounds like it will give you great experience. Save up your money and travel, to anywhere and everywhere. I think you need to trust in your preparation; that Le Moyne did it’s job in teaching you about life and work, and that you did your job in absorbing it all.
I read somewhere that sometimes you have to get lost before you can find yourself. So get lost.