I don’t know where to begin.
Last week I finished my last class for this degree. Hunter College asked for one hundred and twenty credits, my over-achieving ass gave them one hundred and twenty one 😊 It has taken me this long to write about it because I truly cannot, from one moment to the next, pin down my emotions. I feel relief, anxiety, sadness, joy, pride, fear, lost, purposeful, adrift, wonder and loss. Parts of me celebrate, other parts mourn. I know I need a mental (and physical too, for that matter) break, yet I also feel every moment I sit and stare could be put to productive use. I have imminent plans that do not involve school, but wonder if they should. Sigh. Let’s address this…
Education has been such an integral part of my everyday for the past few years and as such, I almost do not yet know how to plan an itinerary without factoring in a paper, reading or trying to memorize something. The idea that I now get to read a book purely for pleasure seems decadent. Ha! Truly. The hours I now have to myself to concentrate on the other aspects of my life that are quite important, even as they are full, still seem as if something is missing. Matching my handbag to my outfit as opposed to the backpack that has taken me through every single semester seems self-indulgent. Imagine… an actual choice in purses!
So yes, I am a bit shell-shocked at the moment. But, I will give myself a moment. I understand there is the reverse process to happen now as opposed to the one that got my mind into being a student. But, someone should have done an exit interview with me. Truly. I/we should be mentally prepped and prepared when approaching our final semester. Sure, we get advised with regard to our remaining credit requirements and courses, but we should similarly be advised about the possible feelings of separation or abandonment. Because, it is not easy for some. Like me.
I graduate in May. I look forward to that moment. I will be sitting with my fellow graduates, adorned in my sash-thingy that announces to all that not only am I a graduate, but I am an honor student. I am and will be proud! I will cross my legs just so to ensure you see my chosen and waiting footwear – my Christian Louboutin aka red-bottoms – my graduation promise and gift to myself. I will celebrate with those I love who have tolerated my anxiety and offered encouragement over the past years. I will dance, sing, cry and make a speech. I will wear something absolutely fabulous and post pictures the next day. I will acknowledge my girl Gloria who was to have crossed the stage on that day as well. I will do it for her. I will frame my diploma, launder my gown, perch my cap and wear my ring proudly. Then, I will research the best graduate school for me, apply and get in. I will achieve my Masters degree and my PhD. Yes, mark my words and hold me accountable.
In the meantime however…
Yesterday my dear friend, Mercedes, presented me with this beautiful engraved pen. She, influenced by Virginia Woolf, told me: “A writer must have a great pen of her own if she is to write fiction…” True. But what I also know is: A woman must have a great friend of her own if she is to take on and nail her reality. Thank you.