Life After Graduation: An Ocean Away

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As I type this I’m on a flight, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. Resumes printed and proofread countless amounts of times, my little French grammar book tucked safely in my carry-on bag and my headphones blaring Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien.” Perhaps I have no idea what I’m doing, just a soon-to-be college graduate trying to escape and find myself in a place far away. Despite all the unanswered questions, I wanted to share my process of preparing to pack up all I’ve ever known, and create a life for myself in Paris, France.

Whether you’re a first semester freshman or a last semester senior, adulthood is quickly approaching. And as my heart rate increases rapidly with just the thought of that, it’s inevitable, life is going to change. Drastically. Quickly. You see, I’ve always been someone who can never seem to stop running. I’m always craving to see more, to grow more, to learn more. Because of this, I’ve found myself backpacking throughout the Italian countryside, the Norwegian mountains, the Portuguese forests, the German villages, the list goes on. I’ve seen what the world has to offer outside of Syracuse, New York and despite this being my hometown, it’s time to create a new home. A new beginning.

I can’t help but look back at these past four years of my college experience; the ups and downs, the moments with friends out dancing until the sun rises, the all nighters in the library to work on that midterm paper you waited too long to start, the simple moments with friends grabbing Taco Bell and just talking for hours about the past, the now, and the future. These past four years have molded me into someone that at the end of the day I can say I’m really proud to have become. Of course, there’s moments of failure, of panic, of questioning all I’ve worked for, but I know that Le Moyne has prepared for this new chapter. Haley Iversen, soon-to-be college graduate. Ouf. C’est fou.

And now here I am, walking throughout the streets of Paris, searching for a tiny little 9m² studio, navigating throughout les rues and les avenues, sitting at corner coffee shops with a copy of Guy de Maupassant’s Bel Ami in hand, and conversing with the waiter as he asks me, ‘Tu viens d’où?” as my American accent shines through. But you see, the thing is, it’s this craving for a new challenge that makes Paris feel like a fresh new start and a new place to call home. It’s working hard every day to learn new words, forcing myself to talk to strangers to practice my speech and looking silly in front of locals that make me realize this is what I want.

Life after college isn’t meant to be terrifying, but it’s easy to start overthinking and feel like you’re sinking in your own thoughts. I mean really think about it, school is all we’ve ever known. Deadlines and papers, annotations and presentations, we’ve been stressed over grades for years and now all these years of hard work are paying off – we can make ourselves into anyone we want. We can go out into the world and show them just how capable and qualified we are, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.

With graduation right around the corner, and a one way ticket to Paris practically here, I guess the whole moral of this short story is to take chances. Go out of your comfort zone and see what makes you feel the most alive. Whether it’s hopping on a plane with no itinerary or simply researching a new author, expand your mind. Take a break from the workload and really get to know yourself. In my opinion, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.

So thank you Le Moyne, for opening my mind to the world. You’ve opened so many doors for me. From the arts to the sciences, from studying overseas for a year, to all the times I didn’t think I could do it, I’m still here. A whole new person, about to walk that stage feeling confident that I can make something of myself.

Bref, merci pour tout. Je ne peux pas imaginer ma vie sans mon experience ici. Merci pour tous les défis, les rires et les souvenirs.  

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