Graduation from a post-secondary institution is something that many students dream of — but then what happens?
Like so many students before me, I have been anticipating receiving my degree and beginning my career for years. Still, as the completion of my degree grows nearer, I sense the onset of a nostalgic feeling surrounding my time spent at university.
As introduced to me in the How I Met Your Mother episode, “The Exploding Meatball Sub,” this particular breed of nostalgia can adequately be described as “graduation goggles.” Although Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” isn’t exactly playing in the background as I attend my last few lectures at the University of Saskatchewan, I find that I am discovering new found delight in things I previously never appreciated.
Throughout high school, I was excited to graduate and begin my life as a university freshman. I recall my mom cautioning me to cherish those high school years, as I’d soon realize they encompassed many memorable days. Despite this, I could not contain my enthusiasm for moving on to the next stage of my life.
After a couple years of living the college dream, I’ve again started anticipating graduation and my life that will come after. I began dreaming of the days of the future — days which would surround much more than studying.
As I approach the end of my time as an undergrad, a pair of very fogged up graduation goggles are settling into place. On one hand, I can’t wait to start the next chapter. On the other hand, I find myself attempting to slow down the days in order to take a minute and appreciate how great these past few years have been.
There are certain things I’ll be more than happy to leave behind — the memories of less than pleasant roommates, the sleepless nights spent studying and the dwindling bank account just to name a few. I know, though, that I’ll look back fondly on these years just as I did after high school.
These were the years when Kraft Dinner and beer were an acceptable substitute for a meal, when taking a nap at 3 p.m. was often conceivable. But these were also the years that immensely broadened my perspective and heavily shaped the way in which I now think.
Many of us students get caught up in focussing too much on simply achieving the end goal and not enough on the incredible ride that we’re a part of during this time.
Through my goggles I can see that I’m going to miss the small things, like drinks at Louis’ after a tough midterm and the breaks enjoyed on the grass in the Bowl. Most importantly, though, I am going to miss the people I have met and grown with over the last few years.
As we students approach future phases of our lives, I hope we learn to maintain a continual desire to be welcoming of today and not always so quick to leap into tomorrow.
I am starting to get the feeling that maybe these graduation goggles aren’t really goggles at all, and perhaps these recent feelings are actually that of clarity. I think many of us are often in such a hurry to start living that we don’t realize that is exactly what we have been doing all along.
I have developed a greater enthusiasm, admiration and love for life during these college years, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss this place, these experiences and these people just a little bit.
Graphic: Stephanie Mah