Into The World: Why Your Best Years Have Yet To Come After Graduation

by Kimmie Conner

In a few weeks, I will be graduating from college.

I will be leaving this place that has been my home and sanctuary for the past four (well, four and a half, for me) years.

I’ll be leaving the place I have become so familiar and comfortable with, the sights I am so used to seeing and appreciating: the buildings, libraries, coffee houses, people. This is a thought that has been impending on my mind forever.

Since starting college, it has always basically been a countdown of how much time I have left here.

A year went by already? I'm halfway done? Only a year left? Only a quarter? The countdown stings a bit more these days. I have two months left -- a month and three weeks.

For some reason, this fact is one that my human emotions are hardly capable of understanding.

Sure, there’s a little bit of realization now and then, but I don’t think my mind gets that this time, I won’t be coming back.

I’ve left this place for long periods of time, sometimes even months, and I have always come back after to the same home, friends and setting.

I might have fooled myself once or twice by going abroad or home for the summer, but I have always returned. Not this time.

This place I call home will soon turn into a very fond memory.

It will be what I will surely call some of the best years of my life; times when I was reckless, carefree and allowed to take more risks to find out how to come into my own.

I won’t be able to come back to this time again. I can come back to this place, and I can come back to some of these people, but I won’t be able to come back to this time.

But, how do I appreciate it? How do I make the most out of the few weeks I will ever have left of my college experience?

I’ve been here for a long time. Four years is what you get here, and four years is what I’ve spent.

I’ve gotten four years of amazing memories that have helped me grow into the person I am today.

Looking back now, freshman year seems like way more than four years ago; although, it also seems like yesterday. It all flew by in a snap.

I’ve done my time; I’m older, and if I think about it, it is honestly time for me to take this step toward growing up a little.

No matter which way you look at it, you get to be childish in college.

It’s been great living like this, but my time has come. Of course, I’ll still always be childish -- just in different ways.

This is the point where I connect the rest of my life with what I am doing now.

There has always been this rift between what I could see myself doing in the future and what I was doing at that point.

And, this is because, well, I have always been in school. The future was always a distant idea full of possibility and wonder, which would happen at a much later time when I had finished school and grown up.

But, this is the connecting point. This is when I start that future.

This is when I start filling up the empty space of possibility and wonder with my own real story, and start filling in the pages of the empty book that is my life.

This is something to be so, so excited about. I am finally losing the rigid structure of schooling from my life, and am facing the opportunity to do what I want with the only life I have.

I can start doing all the things I’ve always dreamed of doing, chasing all the dreams I’ve always dreamed of chasing and experiencing many things that have always seemed to me like a distant possibility.

Of course it will be sad to leave this place I love, and I will keep the memories with me forever, but the excitement of getting to start my future is something much happier.

It's difficult to see this at times, but it's true.

It doesn’t mean I am a real grownup (I’m far from it); it just means the training wheels are finally off and I can ride freely through life, bouncing through different opportunities.