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When All Your Friends Graduate in May

When I graduated high school, the only thing I missed was the theatre department I was a part of. I don’t know whether it was just a part of life, or whether I burnt my bridges because of some subconscious coping mechanism, but I wasn’t sad to graduate. Pardon my French, but I just wanted to get out of that hell hole and move on with my life. I’m not the first person who felt that way about my school, and I certainly won’t be the last. I know I sound cliché but coming to college changed my life completely. Being able to choose who to surround myself with changed everything I thought I knew about friendship. When you’re in high school, your classmates are the kids of all these random adults who decided to live in the same part of town as your parents. You become friends with the people that you see all the time, because well- it’s convenient. It makes sense. It’s not until you’ve left that you realize who your actual friends were and those you clung to out of comfort or familiarity. Most high school friendships wind up being the latter. When I graduated, I felt done. I was ready to move on and charge- full steam ahead. But now, as I’m watching the majority of my classmates pick up their robes from the Grad Fair, taking their senior pictures, and accepting job offers- I’m just scared. Robes flowing, caps flying, and I’m not going to be there. At least not for another seven months. I’ve met so many incredible people during my time here at JMU, and being here next August, when everyone is gone, is just going to feel… off.

To an extent, I think everyone goes through an existential crisis when they know they’re about to graduate college. I don’t have any post-grad plans yet, I don’t have any job offers- I don’t even know how I’m going to find the motivation to get through my last semester. But the people who graduate on time are so lucky- at least they have each other. They have someone else to hold their hand when they’re jumping into the deep end, while I feel like I’m being dunked head-first into a shark pit. I’m going to wake up in the morning, and my best friend isn’t going to be getting ready in the room next door. I’m going to walk around campus and all the freshmen are going to look third graders. And I’m going to sit in classes, full of faces I don’t know and be so deeply reminded that I’m not meant to be there anymore. I love JMU, believe me- I don’t want to leave.

But staying here, when I’ll be the only one left, will hurt so much more than if I just ripped the Band-Aid off.

Sarah is an SCOM (Public Relations) and SMAD (Digital Video & Cinema) double major. She can be found befriending every puppy she sees, talking excessively about Rocky Horror, and drinking way more caffeine than is probably safe for one human to consume.
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