Last weekend, I made a milestone many of my family have not finished. I graduated college with a Bachelor's degree. While they seem a dime a dozen now, college education continues to be a luxury for many in the world, especially women. As you can imagine, this was a huge deal for my family, who all made the six hour trip to DC to see it. On top of it, I finished college in the midst of adventures, from lobbying Congress, to studying in Kenya, to now heading south for a year with Americorps. Nonetheless, my family is very proud. Yet one question sticks in my mind.
"How does it feel?"
A week later, I don't know what to say. I did feel a burst of excitement as I processed in and again as I was about to walk. Afterward, I felt overwhelmed by everyone's outpouring of love for me and teared up quite a bit (the most when my grandfather told me how proud my grandmother would have been). Yet, for the most part, I don't feel different. I mean, I still live in DC, I still work at the same restaurant that I've been with for nearly three years. I hang out with my friends. I sing/play music, I cook, I clean my apartment. I pay my rent like a good girl. I listen to music and go on Facebook. I do my own brand of light reading (usually, same stuff as school but on my terms). You know, the usual.
There are times, like just now, where I realize it, usually because I'm filling out roommate requests, uniform size sheets and forbearance forms for my student loans. I feel excited about it, a new adventure, an opportunity to serve, the beginning of what hopefully will be a long and glorious career of I-don't-know-what-except-it's-awesome. Yet I do feel sad. Sad to be leaving the city I've lived in and loved for four years. Sad that it's my turn to say goodbye. Sad that it's an end. Sad that I'll be leaving someone I've come to love dearly behind (I have hope for us, the leaving part just sucks).
To conclude, I'm not sure what I feel. I think I feel many different things, all at different times. Am I happy? Yes. Proud? You bet. Relieved? Damn straight, I want time off before I return to the walls of academia (hopefully with more purpose and drive, as well as some funds). Sad? A bit, more about leaving DC than finishing my time at AU. I feel everything and nothing but I guess that's just how life is.