April 13, 2006

A Modern Way of Letting Go

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I’m graduating in less than two months. I haven’t been fitted for my cap and gown, I have no idea what I’m going to do with the massive amount of things I’ve accumulated in the last four years I’ve been here, and I have no apartment yet in the city that will be my new home. I’m supposed to take care of all of this in a matter of five weeks or so; needless to say it’s an epic task. I’ve been able to field the typical post-graduate questions with grace by mostly being as sketch and vague as possible in my replies. You know, the “Oh my god so what are your plans? Where are you living? How much will you be making? Don’t you wanna go back to school right away?” I know that May 28 is coming. We all do. I know that I’ll have to get said cap and gown, figure out living/travel/other various life arrangements, and an assortment of commencement details too insipid to name. I know I’ll have to do these things … eventually. But I can’t bring myself to think about stuff like this.

People keep asking me about the next couple of months and years, but I’m still trying to get through the week ahead, let alone finish my school work. (Yes, last semester seniors have homework too.) I’ve got one foot out the door and the other still behind me. The pending date that I will leave Cornell forevermore is fast approaching, and, while I’m immensely excited that it is, it suddenly hit me that through graduation’s door we will enter a world drastically different from our Cornell bubble.

In many ways, I’ve simply selectively chosen the details of graduation to think about and those to pursue at a later date. Basically, I’ve chosen to ignore them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m usually as well-adjusted as the next person. But this could be the last time in my life when I’ll be in the same city with all of my nearest and dearest girlfriends, when we’ll be able to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, delaying work because we can, sipping wine and laughing hysterically, and vegging out to our heart’s content. It’s probably the last time I’ll be able to go to class, come back for a power nap, go to another, sleep some more in between, and go to work all in the same weekday. The last time I’ll walk on the street and see at least ten people I know. And as much as studying and worrying about grades stresses me out, do you know I’ll miss Club Uris too? Ironically it’s become my central base to meet up with friends as we have slowly stretched out into the far corners of campus far away from our first Cornell homes on North as freshmen.

I’ll miss meal plan. Dining hall food sucks, but in my opinion cooking and grocery shopping sucks even more. I’ll miss seeing my friends perform in their dance troupes and music groups, or seeing other tremendously talented people on this campus express what they’re passionate about. I’ll miss being in a place where the second it snows paths to walk through have already been shoveled and cleared. I’ve already had a taste of the fact that the rest of the east coast does not operate like this, and I don’t like it one bit.

I’ll miss sleeping in, staying in my pajamas all day long. I’ll miss being able to attend a reading by one of my favorite authors Edwige Danticat, or John Updike, or listen to the harrowing account of real life Hotel Rwanda’s Paul Rusesabagina. We really are in the presence of greatness at this school.

When I think about my time at Cornell, it brings a mix of emotions. I’ve met some of the most fantastic, amazing, anal-retentive, self-involved, oblivious, trashy, blissfully ignorant, annoying, beautiful people at this school. There have been moments that I will never forget and others that I could have done without. I’ve learned that books and world-renowned academia don’t teach common sense or compassion; living life does. People ask me how I’ve liked my time here. “I’ve loved the friends I’ve made,” is my usual response. It’s the more coded and polite answer, of course, but it’s the honest truth as well. I wouldn’t call these years at Cornell the best years of my life; quite frankly I think those are yet to come. But I will say that I’ve appreciated my experiences here, they have taught me a lot about myself and the world. And so I’ve taken to the modern way of letting go; completely sidestepping the fact that the end is near but eagerly anticipating its arrival at the same time. I’m living in the moment but looking forward to the next all at once.

Archived article by Sophia Asare
Sun Staff Writer