A University at Sunset: Reflections Three Years Post-Graduation
I slipped into the crowd of students ambling from the parking lot up the hill towards their classrooms. Blending right in, I studied my surroundings and felt the atmosphere around me. There’s something about a college campus that breeds excitement. The feeling came back to me with each step I took, with each comments that fluttered through the air from the conversations circling around me. Midterms. Papers. Professors. Parties. The substance of college life rushed at me as I journeyed along the way.
Sometimes I enjoy going out to the university so that I can remember where I’ve been and remember this feeling. There’s something utterly unique about the energy on a college campus. The air feels alive, there are new discoveries, new friends, and new opportunities everywhere you look.
I realize that the students around me each hold their own questions about what the future holds and their own worries about life, but when I walk across a campus, I don’t see those things. I see promises, hopes, and dreams. People who are learning who they are and what they want out of life. People who are passionate about finding answers to life’s biggest questions through their research, and people who are taking steps toward adulthood (for whatever that word means).
While on campus, I watched a beautiful sunset over the nearby fields and lakes. It passed over the cows and hovered above the horizon before dipping below the skyline and saying good night to myself and the students around me, absorbed in their own thoughts. I want to tell them to enjoy the sunsets, to enjoy their college days, and to soak up the experience while they can.
It’s been nearly three years since I received my BA and stood on a stage, shaking hands and posing for a picture as I received a fake diploma. I had absolutely no idea what life would look like after that day. No hint or clue that would reveal to me even half of what my life looks like now. These past three years have taught me much about the world and have brought me into a place where I consider myself an adult, a self-assessment that was certainly not true when I graduated in 2010.
These three years later have brought me to a life that I claim where I am a working woman, involved in my hometown civic life, and where I can start planning big purchases. I’m “stable” now, and I think that this is a position that I could remain in for several years. Woah. I’ve got a good set up, and despite the lack of opportunities for excellent adventures, life is pretty swell.
Still. Still there are these days when I walk onto a college campus and I envy the possibilities that lay ahead of those 18 and 19 year old underclassmen. They have experienced life, true, but I know that they will learn many more life lessons by the time they hit where I am – three years out of school. Single. Working. Saving for retirement. That’s where I’m at and I’m a bit flabbergasted to find myself here.
So on the days where I don’t want to think about life, on the days where I want to remember the excitement of anticipation, on days life today…I’ll head out five miles into the country, take a walk around, and enjoy watching the sunset over the fields.