A Lesson in Growing Up

Photography by Devon Butler

When I hear the word ‘future’, I am honestly terrified. As I watch the months pass by, I feel responsibilities and duties mounting; I feel the pressure of graduation, like a noose tightening around the neck of everything I have come to love. I like the feeling of walking around familiar grounds, smiling a greeting at familiar people, and sitting in familiar chairs at the library. I like the constant shifting of what it means to live the ‘school life’ and the changing assignments and the changing priorities; Friday night is Philthy’s, while Monday morning, it’s time to get down to serious business instead of down to the beats. Nevertheless, everyday I am challenged and I am completely free.

I am only in second year. It probably seems absurd that I feel like my days are numbered when there are people graduating in a matter of weeks; some with a clear vision of their newfound adult-esque autonomy, and others probably with their palms sweating heavily around their diploma. Age considerations aside, I can confidently say time seems to fly by for all of us. Sometimes when I’m in the dining hall, watching first years come to terms with their new lives and independence, I wish I could tell them it gets so much better, and simultaneously, always a little worse. Some people may phrase this as just ‘different’ rather than attributing a negative connotation to the change, but those people are usually guidance councilors.

I remember when my biggest concerns had to do with dodging my don, and how there was never anything to eat on Sunday nights. Now, as I struggle with my progression requirements for my program and trying to find a job for my first co-op term, my problems definitely seem like they have more significance. But I also have a more significant life; the future of the nervous, overwhelmed first year I was, ironically included a couple of new executive positions around campus, a vast variety of new experiences and a whole new batch of friends for my weekend plans.

I have grown as a person, and there is perhaps nothing more exciting or satisfying than that. As I watch some of my older friends take pictures with a graduation gown and apply to leave their home away from home for the past 4 years, I can see that they have grown as well. Perhaps the future is terrifying, but once upon a time, it was the past and you were a lot less equipped to deal with the change than you currently are in the present.

While I cannot pretend that I am completely relieved and relaxed regarding the end of my school career, I can honestly say that I am excited to know who I will become after another two years surrounded by the people and school I love. Perhaps after graduation, I will find new familiar grounds at a job I adore, and I will smile at my old roommates over a coffee date. There are so many possibilities out there; I currently can proudly say that I capitalized on a lot of amazing opportunities I did not even know about last year. And there is always the silver lining to any cloud; past the point of graduation, there is a sudden dearth of exams you might not pass.