At the beginning of this year, I wrote an article entitled “How I Feel Going Into Senior Year.” This article is a reflection of my past three years at Emerson, and how I was looking forward to seeing what my senior year would bring and the fears I had about saying goodbye to the things that I love. In no way did I expect to be where I am currently: sitting in my childhood bedroom taking online classes in the middle of a pandemic to finish my senior year.
I can honestly say that graduation is not what I ever expected it to be, clearly when in that article I said: “I’m not entirely sure what steps I’m going to take throughout the year, but I know that I can say, with confidence, that we will all get through it, and walk across the stage at graduation, degree in hand.” Who could have guessed that I should not talk about graduation with confidence? What I will say is that even though I am forced to take back the last part of this sentence from the beginning of the year, I am not taking back the beginning. If there is one thing that I have learned during my time at Emerson, it’s that even though none of us have known where the steps we were taking were going to lead us, we will get through whatever life throws at us—even if it is a pandemic.
No one could have predicted the fact that this was going to happen, but I’ve realized that this pandemic saved me from the fears I was having when I wrote this first reflective piece. I truly imagined this piece taking a different form when I wrote the original at the beginning of the year, but if it proves anything, it’s that life is always unpredictable, even when you think it is. Many of the fears I was having seem a little funny now in perspective, since I’ve been forced to say goodbye to all the things I wanted to hold onto in the worst way imaginable. What it did allow for though was this: I don’t need to fear goodbyes. Goodbyes do not have to be forever, and if you can have a proper goodbye, then that is the closure that will make the experience worth every moment—like, in The Blindside, when Sandra Bullock’s character ALWAYS needs a proper hug. Yeah. Like that.
What I have learned throughout my college career is that the unexpected isn’t always a bad thing and neither are goodbyes. Being forced to uproot everything and work remotely has taught me that I am so much more adaptable than I thought I was. It reminded me that the city of Boston will always be there, the organizations that I have cherished for the last four years will still run as strong as they were on campus, and that the friends I have—even though we are all scattered around the country now—are still the best friends a girl could ask for.
I have a real knack for fearing the unknown, and while I’m a little spooked by the looming pandemic, I realize that fearing for the future isn’t worth the anxiety. There is always going to be something you can never predict, and in that, you can learn a thing or two about your own strength.
I am absolutely devastated that I was unable to finish my senior year the way I wanted to, but I think that in re-reading what I wrote at the beginning of this year, I’ve grown more than I ever thought possible over the course of the past few months. In this time of uncertainty, I’ve found it much more helpful to look at the positive side of things in the face of so much negativity. As painful as it is to say goodbye without closure, I’m thankful that I was forced to, so that I could see just how strong of a person I have become.
I am absolutely ready to face anything the future throws at me, and I can’t wait to say that I am officially a college graduate—ceremony or not.