Excitement, eagerness, parties, flirting, laughter, adventure, new experiences, carefree, learning, reading, writing, studying, knowledge, friends, community, freedom, youth, endless possibilities.
Am I really graduated? Have I really been out of school for almost 4 months now? Has it really been 2 years since I was living in London? (Let's not even go there right now because that is a whole n'other animal that I can't even handle right now.) This is not okay. This is a MAJOR life change. Why didn't anyone warn me about this? What can ever compare to the best time of my life?
People always say "congratulations" on graduating, but graduating was one of the worst days of my life. I was completely dreading the day for weeks. I never knew the word "dread" until those few weeks leading up to that Sunday, June 13th. That day was an object of terror and horror. That catastrophic purple and white lei of flowers hung heavy like a noose around my neck. I could feel the weight of it on my shoulders and I could smell its poisonous aroma as my cap and gown smothered me in the powerful California sun. Receiving my diploma was the ultimate act of misfortune, like someone handing me my death warrant. The only thing I could concentrate on was holding back my tears that were ready to burst through my eyes like the Hoover Dam was about to burst. The past four years have led up to this moment and all I was thinking about was that I wished the floor would open up and slurp me inside so that I could be stuck in the floorboards of the gym that I rode my bike past every morning on my way to class. I found myself praying to God that this was all a dream. This couldn't be happening. I didn't want to leave. It was the last thing I wanted to do. But I felt that I had no other choice. Even if I stayed in Santa Barbara, I would know that I didn't belong there anymore. It was a place for carefree college kids who never have to worry about anything important. IV, the happiest place on Earth. I didn't want to wear out my welcome. I didn't want the memories to turn sour.
Instead of congratulating me, they should have been saying "enjoy it now because it's all downhill from here" or how about "your freedom is officially over, now get a job". I have a huge lump in my throat just thinking about it because I know that being in Santa Barbara was the last time I was really happy. It was so depressing I couldn't even write about it until 4 months later. Graduation is not a new beginning, it is a horrible ending. It's like a hard kick in the ass... even if you don't want to leave, your time has come to an end. It's like a death. The death of the best four years of my life.