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Mitski and Mourning My College Self

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

For cts, half of my soul, as the poets say

I am graduating in a few short weeks and time has not felt real this entire semester. I’m excited to graduate, hold my diploma and know I accomplished something. And yet every time I take another step in the process, I am inundated with sadness. Ordering my cap and gown, reserving graduation ceremony tickets, scheduling my portrait photosall of it makes me want to cry. And I’m not mourning my school, this campus was never my home as a commuter and I rarely hung around enough to make  infamous college friendships. Almost two entire years of my experience were fully virtual: I would Zoom into class, tucked into the covers of my bed at my parent’s house. I will not miss this physical place, I will not miss the people, but I will miss the me I was in this era.

I’ve loved Mitski’s music for the soul crushing agony and sadness only she could express in songs.In the Fall of 2021, I rediscovered “Class of 2013,” a song I hadn’t really paid attention to before this phase in my life. This is perhaps her most raw song, and I strongly encourage you to listen to a live version of it.  She wrote the song about her impending graduation while she was a college senior and it encapsulates all the feelings I’ve had about graduating. It’s in the point of view of her speaking to her mother, but it’s not a conversation, it’s one-sided pleading and voices all my fears. 

[Verse 1]

Mom, I’m tired

Can I sleep in your house tonight?

Mom, is it alright

If I stay for a year or two?

This last semester has left me the most exhausted I have ever been. It’s not just the academic workload, but the impending end. It hovers over me and while I am not being pressured to leave my home, I’m still embarrassed not having the capacity to. I am also just afraid.

[Verse 2]

Mom, I’ll be quiet

It would be just to sleep at night

And I’ll leave once I figure out

How to pay for my own life too

What was the point of attending college if not to successfully find a career so that I could be independent? And yet I am not, I don’t have any career prospects at the moment, I’ve plunged myself into debt and I have yet to figure out how to pay for my own life. It’s this never-ending anxiety that’s been keeping me awake at night.

[Verse 3]

Mom, would you wash my back?

This once, and then we can forget

And I’ll leave what I’m chasing

For the other girls to pursue

This is the verse that is absolutely sublime when Mitski performs it live. I want to forget all my anxieties, I want to be on the easy path where there aren’t real choices to make. But I’ve reached the end of the line now, I’ve finished college and now I have to choose what comes next. There is something strangely comforting about monotony, going through motions of elementary school to high school, and then to college. And there are some undergrad tracks that lead you to a career as well, but I did not choose one of those. I’m a polisci major who doesn’t want to go to law school. I’m chasing the idea of politics without a practical application to meet. 

[Outro]

Mom, am I still young?

Can I dream for a few months more? 

This is when I let my tears finally fall. This is what I mourn when I think about graduating. After this, is there no more easy youth? Can I afford to make a mistake and have it not ruin my life? I don’t think I can dream anymore. I am aware that I’m privileged that I’ve been able to get this far with the support of my family, and that I have them to fall back on. But every night I cannot sleep because I am haunted by the end approaching and having all of my efforts be for nothing at all. 

All I wanted was to be happy, so I mourn the person I was before my every waking thought was consumed with trying to make a life for myself.

Francesca is a jack of all trades. An actor, a writer, an artist, and most importantly, a friend to many. She leads a life of passion, of unadulterated love, of sacrifice—all of which causes her great pain and pleasure. Still, she wouldn't have it any other way. Isn't that what makes life worth fighting for? The constant battle between the ups and the downs? The guarantee that everything you hold near and dear to your heart will one day disappear? Reinoso finds the beauty in this devastating struggle, a struggle humanity has reckoned with since the beginning of time itself.
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