My brother graduated today, as did two of my very close friends, another coworker, and some people I used to know in high school. It seemed like a very busy day of watching people move on with their lives.
In May, three of my best friends graduated. It was really hard to watch. Partly because I had just gotten the chance to befriend them last semester, and partly because I would have been graduating in May if I hadn’t dropped out of college three times to get treatment for my mental illness(es). I had this feeling of being such a failure, I couldn’t stand it. I blamed myself, if you had just pretended to have your shit together you could’ve been done by now.
Of course, that’s not true. I would’ve been dead, not done with college. The truth is that leaving college so many times taught me how to, and why I wanted to, save my life.
I watched the graduation festivities from my couch today, because I can’t sit on the chairs in the stadium. I took pictures of my screen each time a friend came up, wanting to remember this moment.
I felt a tinge of sadness, but not because I’m not graduating this year. I felt sad because these people that I’ve gotten so close to over the year and a half I’ve been at this school are moving on with their lives. I’m not sure if I’ll hear from them again, and I certainly won’t be able to go sit in their houses and hang out until the very early hours of the morning.
My heart hurts a bit because these people are venturing far and wide. But I am also very excited for them. One of my friends is going to volunteer in Indonesia. One is trying to get a book published. Another is off to graduate school. My brother is still figuring out what he wants to do now, but whatever it is he’ll kill it.
I’m happy that I can move past the fear and self-blame to be happy for the people I know that have worked incredibly hard to get to this point. I didn’t sit and feel sorry for myself today. I went to my brother’s graduation party, and I texted the friends I know that graduated and told them how excited I am for them. I got to decorate the cap that one of my friends wore and it looked awesome and I was so happy that I could give him that.
I will likely graduate in May of 2018, the potential exception being if I take classes next summer. I’ve said, since starting college, that I would do my time and get out. But I recently came across a graduate program I am very interested in looking at. I don’t know yet if I will actually go to graduate school, but I do know that I’m no longer hell-bent on getting out of school as fast as possible. I get to meet people and have experiences that I otherwise would not have had.
I’m not saying I love all parts of college, and I’m not saying I’m fully over the fact that dropping out so many times has put me behind the graduation schedule I was supposed to be on. But I am saying that I love learning and meeting new people, I love getting to do interesting things and learning from my mistakes.
Little points where I can recognize progress, that come out of the blue, are my favorite.