In just a few short weeks I will begin my fifth (and final!) year of college. Going to a five year school has certainly been a surreal experience; it’s strange to think that my high school friends are now working full time jobs or panicking because they have yet to find one, and I’m still a full time student whose biggest concern is whether or not he should be studying instead of binge watching a new show on Netflix. To an extent, I am thankful that I have one more year to figure my shit out, but I’m also starting to experience the inevitable “I’m just so over college” feeling that many people get from being in school so long. I want to be done taking classes and begin my life as a young professional, but I also want to continue the college lifestyle of sleeping in and living in an apartment on someone else’s dime. Life is full of trade-offs I guess.
The hardest part of not having graduated yet is watching friends pack their things and move away to pursue their passions. I feel that old fear I had upon graduating high school resurfacing, the fear that things are forever changing and people are drifting apart. The difference this time, however, is that this change is real and permanent; people aren’t just moving away for four months at a time to go to school, they’re moving for good.
Sam, one of my best friends, is moving to California the day I begin fall classes, and I’ve been having difficulty processing that. I have been incredibly supportive and I know that this will be a great experience for her, but I haven’t fully accepted in my head that she’ll actually be gone. I know she’ll be away, but it’s not until she will have actually left that I will begin to understand what it’ll be like to have her gone, and what it’s made me realize is that life after college is full of scary decisions that need to be made.
Standing still won’t make the hard decisions just disappear. If you aren’t the one to move away to pursue your dreams you can bet your sweet melons that someone else close to you will be doing that. Confronting change can be scary, but it is something that has to be done, and it’s better to work with the change than against it. It’s kind of like how you’re supposed to turn your wheel in the direction the car is spinning in order to regain control, at least that’s what I think it’s like….is that even a real thing? I’m a pretty shitty driver so I wouldn’t know, but I digress.
I’m smart enough to know that my relationship with Sam will change. Chances are I’ll see her once or twice a year and that most of our communication will be over phone or Facebook messaging. I know I won’t be able to crawl in her bed or go with her on stupid errands whenever I want, and it’s a bummer. The truth is that our relationship is going to change and we’re both going to have to adapt to that. Maybe we’ll end up not being as close as we once were, but the fear of change should never stop someone from embracing it. As twenty-somethings, we are all at a turning point in our lives where we have the opportunity to chase after our dreams or explore. I’ve realized that is incredibly easy to convince yourself that staying in the same place is the best decision. It certainly is the easiest one to make. I mean who doesn’t like the idea of being surrounded by friends and family in a familiar place? But if you don’t give yourself the chance to explore, to try something new, you risk missing out on the things you truly want to do. Life is both too short and too long to spend it settling.
Last weekend I visited my best friend in New York City, the place I may end up moving to after graduation. I found myself a tad overwhelmed by the city, and I think I found it overwhelming because I thought about it as my future home for the first time. I freaked out a bit over the cost of rent, the confusing subway system, and the reality that I’ll probably be paid in pesos for whatever creative job I take, and it made me think about how much I love Boston. It made me think that I should just stay in the city with my friends and work and ultimately settle down here. But what I’ve learned is that you should never make a decision simply because you’re afraid of the other option; you should choose something because it’s what you want, not because it’s comfortable. If I stay in Boston I want it to be because I found my dream job not because I’m terrified of being poor in New York City. The future is completely uncertain and mysterious; there is as much possibility for good things to happen as there are bad, so you may as well look at things with hope.
I am hopeful that things will work out for Sam and that she’ll be happy out in California. I don’t want to spend the next few weeks dreading the day she leaves, I want to spend them having fun with her and brainstorming what we should do when I visit her. And if things don’t work out, she can always move home knowing that she went out of her comfort zone and did something most people don’t. Change is scary and sometimes failure is inevitable, but complexity of character comes from new experiences. Doesn’t that sound like something you’d find on a fortune cookie? Anyways, cheers to the freakin’ weekend Sammy, I can’t wait to hear you talk long-windedly about all of the cool things you’re doing in Cali!!