I am officially done with college. I submitted my last paper via Champlain’s online portal on Saturday, and I had my final exam last Wednesday. With graduation now less than a week away, I have reached the end of a period in my life.
I began my education in 1993 when I started Play School. This is when I met the people with whom I grew up and where I made my first group of friends. It’s hard to believe that after having classes and school work take up my life for 18 years, it’s all over. Forever. There’s no going back. For the first time in my life, I will not go through the care-free days of summer with the thought in the back of my mind that at the end of August, another school year will begin.
If I am to categorize my life based on phases of school, I just finished the fourth chapter –elementary school, middle school, high school, and now college.– I’ve also entirely completed Part 1: Education. Unless I some day decide to pursue a Master’s degree, I am forever done with school. Looking back on these chapters of my life, certain events that I thought were long ago forgotten are returning to the surface of my mind. Different experiences, both good, bad, and in-between, make up who I am today.
Chapter 1: Elementary School
Oh, how I sometimes wish I could go back. It’s hard to imagine life was ever so easy. The biggest worry I had was how to spell words for weekly spelling tests –I remember having some difficulties with embarrassment and definitely.– This time of life was filled with firsts: first sleepovers, first crushes, first fights with friends, first arguments with parents –most likely not first fights with brothers,– first time playing sports, and I could go on and on. As I recollect these early memories, it amazes me how easy life was at one point. The following poem is something I wrote my senior year of high school at another changing time of my life.
Where have all the years gone?
We used to be so young.
I remember when we would stay up late at night,
Telling jokes and having pillow fights.
We always had so much fun,
At 10 years old we planned our junior prom.
We thought we were the coolest little girls,
Never having a care in the world.
Now my head’s spinning in swirls.
Where did our childhood go?
Now we’re seniors in high school, without much to show
For it, except that our friendship has passed the test.
We always knew we were the best.
Although we sometimes drift apart,
We’ll always be in each other’s hearts.
So no matter what we all
Decide to do next fall
Remember that all it takes is that one, easy phone call.
Best memory: Having boy-girl sleepovers at my house –since I have a twin brother, our house was the only place where girls and boys were allowed to sleep over together.–
Worst memory: Having head lice and sitting for countless hours as my mom investigated and cleaned out my hair
Chapter 2: Middle School
5th through 8th grades were almost as carefree as my younger years. I spent my summers with my neighbors and brothers on our secluded dead-end dirt road, going from pool to basketball court to trampoline to eating meals prepared for us. My school years were consumed with sports and with projects such as egg babies, where we had to take care of a hard-boiled egg for a few weeks without letting it break as part of a sexual education class, and making CO2 cars that we raced in front of the whole school. I went on numerous school camping trips, left the country for the first time on a school trip to Montreal, and spent a week over the summer two years in a row at a program at Clemson University with fifteen other classmates. Every Friday night all of my friends and I would go to the pizza place and our town’s one-screen movie theatre –it didn’t ever matter what was playing.– I had a surprisingly easy time going through puberty and my biggest worry was whether or not my mom would be on time to pick me up.
Best memory: Dancing the night away at school dances
Worst memory: In 6th grade I stepped on a toothpick which got wedged into the bottom of my foot. I went to the ER to get it taken out and had to get a tetanus shot right into the tender area where the insertion occurred. Probably the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.
Chapter 3: High School
Some people say high school is the best time of your life. Others hope this isn’t true, because they have horrible high school experiences. I thankfully fall into the former category. Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything about my high school experience. From the excitement of going to my first parties to the thrill of getting my license to the camaraderie of my sports teams to the enchantment of prom, high school was a fulfilling four years of my life. If I could go back I’d even hold the party that got busted when my parents were away again –getting grounded for two weeks was totally worth it. Between the job that I held throughout high school and the pressure felt from sports and preparing for the SATs I was no longer able to enjoy the care-free days that I did when I was younger, but high school was filled with its own life lasting experiences, including being part of a state championship track team, going on vacations with groups of friends, and being nominated by my peers for Homecoming Queen.
Best memory: Falling in love
Worst memory: Experiencing my first loss when my neighbor died of cancer
Chapter 4: College
Although I didn’t know it a few years ago, I was very naive when I left the small town in Southern Vermont where I grew up and headed off to college. I thought I’d stay friends with the girls whom I grew up with forever. I thought that my relationship was unbreakable. I had big plans to move somewhere with a warmer climate when I completed college. It turns out none of these things actually happened. I didn’t stay in touch with most of my friends from home, but I did make new groups of friends; so many, in fact, that I don’t have time to hang out with many of them. My four-year relationship ended over two years ago now –wow– but I can’t imagine not having experienced what it’s like to be single while in college. I’ve discarded my prior dream of moving somewhere warm, coming to the realization that I do love the northeast and although winter sucks, I can power through.
To sum it up, college has just been an amazing experience. Not only did I learn how to live on my own, I learned how much I love living on my own. I love my parents, but if they are to never take care of me again, I’ll be just fine. I observed and took part in the social aspect of college life. I experienced the nerve-racking, heart pounding feeling of trying to get into a bar with a fake ID, and the sense of accomplishment when it proves to be successful. I came to agreement on the fact that sleep is overrated, a statement my dad tried to convince me of for years. I survived 8 a.m. classes on Fridays after being out until two or three in the morning the night before. Most importantly, I balanced my social and academic lives perfectly and when I receive my diploma on Saturday, I will reach out my hand with the confidence that Champlain College has fully prepared me for whatever lies ahead in my career of public relations.
Best memory: Cherishing that solitary day off from work by taking a boat out onto Lake Champlain and being accompanied by good music, tasty drinks, and great friends.
Worst memory: Having my heart broken
PART 2: Post Education
To be continued…