Twenty-seven doesn’t feel old. It can’t even be considered old. Unless you’re ten because when I was ten I remember thinking that twenty-seven years old seemed ancient. But I suddenly felt old when I received an e-mail from my alma mater telling me “it’s time to celebrate your five year reunion at Homecoming 2014!” Seriously, has it been five years already?! How can it be just five years ago that I was dressing up in blue and white, cheering on our teams, and hopping from party to party? I remember how we joked about sneaking into the alumni tent because they had the “good stuff”. Now I can legally get into the alumni tent and I’m not sure I’m ready to go.
Let me tell you a little bit about my college experience and be quite frank about it: it wasn’t the best four years of my life. Actually I contemplated transferring several times. It just wasn’t the college I thought I’d be at; I wanted football teams and guys in polo shirts and life in a big sorority house where everything would be pink. I watched a lot of movies before I went to college. And while I got some of that, there were also periods of loneliness and heartbreak and doubt. Looking back, sometimes I wish I went to another more “traditional” school with a football team instead of an intercollegiate rugby team and a losing soccer team. I would have loved to spend homecoming at real tailgates instead of in the basement of a rented off-campus house. I wish I had been less anonymous and created deeper friendships instead of being the out-of-state girl in a sea of locals who all went to rival high schools. Even if it wasn’t the sparkly, Elle Woods experience it still taught me a lot. I learned how to be alone, how to heal a broken heart, how to create confidence, how to pretend to have confidence even when you don’t. Not having the “perfect” college experience prepared me to have a not so perfect post-college experience.
Did you imagine that when you graduated from college you’d get that perfect entry level position? The one that was a lot of work but it was fulfilling and you had an amazing boss and a great group of work friends who loved to go for happy hour. There would also be the perfect apartment that you didn’t have to share anyone because you deserved not to after a slew of horrible college roommates. And if you weren’t attached, a great guy would bump into you in the coffee shop around the corner and then, well, happily ever after. Did I mention before that I watch a lot of movies? When I walked up to the university president and shook her hand and received my diploma, I didn’t have a plan but I was sure that it was all going to work out alright. I was right about that, it did work out alright, but not the way I ever thought it would.
Five years later, I can put those five years into perspective. While I thought I grew a lot in college that was nothing compared to post-grad life. I struggled to find a job and when I did find a job, I struggled to make ends meet even living at home. Just like college, it was nothing like what I thought it would be. Unlike college it was so much more. Five years later I have grown from being a naive, insecure, freshly minted grad who in hindsight was deeply insecure and totally unprepared to being a confident, happy professional teacher who is getting married in a little under a year (oh my goodness!). The end of my college journey was the beginning of another journey which has been tough sometimes but is mostly absolutely amazing and has brought me to a place five years later I never imagined, or hoped, I would be.
But more on that Thursday…