The Last First Day of School
A love letter to all the graduating seniors - a series finale
Each semester of college has felt like a new season of a TV show, with some new characters, a lot of recurring sidekicks and exciting plot lines. We signed an 8-season deal with the network and while that seemed excessive, we are finally approaching the finale but nothing feels right. I thought about begging to add a ridiculous plotline, but what’s worse than a TV show that ruins the ending? Come on, this isn’t Game of Thrones. It is time to sit here with the knowledge that everything is going to change — something I have denied for a while.
Occasionally, I would have these existential crises when thinking about the future, but they are not even existential anymore, they are just crises. The future is here and is knocking at my door.
I used to welcome the future with open arms, but now I think about buying a deadbolt.
At 18, I moved out of state to a place where I did not know a single soul and I had no fear. We are graduating college because we accepted the change, but it feels impossible to think about all we have to lose to grow again.
On my last first day of school, the feeling of nostalgia was intoxicating. I walked past my old freshman dorm, the library where I spent 90% of my days, the classroom where I met my best friend. I watched everyone in 4D hearing conversations about boyfriends, parties, philosophy, horrible teachers and studying. Everything was so vibrant. I thought, we are all so young and hopeful with our lives in front of us. I almost cried as I sat on that bench in the sun, knowing it is beautiful that moving on is so difficult when so much was gained.
This is a love letter to graduating seniors, who may wake up every day unaware if something might be the last: the last coffee from your favorite cafe, the last Sunday dinner party, the last cram session before an exam, the last time running into your freshman roommate, the last time you will live with your best friend. The list could go on forever, but just know that while we celebrate and enjoy our lasts we are making room for the next firsts.
Imagine your 18-year-old self. You couldn’t stay that version of yourself forever. We’ve changed, evolved and gone through immense hardship and still succeeded.
We are the people that we dreamed of being four years ago.
I look to my naive 18 year old self and know that if she could embrace change, so can I. Maybe it is time to act more impulsively, try not to overthink, and wake up everyday knowing it is all going to work out.
We might attend our last tailgate teary-eyed, but that loss can not compare to the friendships, experiences and knowledge we have gained. As we think about walking across the stage or hanging up our backpacks and frat shoes, let’s start to wind down and experience this next season with exceptional amounts of gratitude. It is not the last-last day of school, that is only one episode and there are countless experiences to have in our time left to worry about the ending.
Disclaimer: All graduating seniors have signed on for their own spin off show, tune in for more crazy characters, exciting experiences and heartwarming moments. It’s never the end, it is always the beginning.
Gwyneth Baker is an online editorial writer for Rowdy Magazine. Please be gentle with her as she embarks on her last semester. She can be found crying outside of Little Hall, walking aimlessly around campus, and singing Mac Miller's Senior Skip Day.