Exactly 24 hours and 4 minutes prior to sitting down to pen this, I finished school. Put the final full-stop to the final year of 8.4.4. Final full stop for now anyway…let’s give it a few months and see what the results are like…but, nevertheless, the end finally is upon us.
A friend of mine said it would be an anti-climax. I think I shall have to wait longer than 24 hours for those sentiments to manifest, if at all. The end though…
The final paper was HARD!
Let me start there.
A unit which promised to be easy completely turned on us. I have scarce sat a harder paper in my life. Even the fact that I had read did not count for much when push came to shove.
Then enter the sentimentalities. The end seems to spur the need for closure. That is the best way to put it. Goodbyes. Dreaded goodbyes.
For four years, we have been in each other’s lives all day everyday, but not anymore. I probably saw the very last of some of my classmates yesterday. A very sobering thought. A sad thought. It comes with regret. We no longer have time on the clock. So all the things that should have been said, the things you wish you had done, must be crammed into a few short hours, hasty goodbyes, attempts at making plans to occasionally meet, promises to keep in touch.
Why does JKUAT not have a final year student’s lunch or dinner event? I should probably stop following Strath on FaceBook, they keep setting expectations that JKUAT will not live up to. We had a little class farewell lunch though, where several truths were acknowledged. The fact that there are very clearly demarcated social circles in our class(former) seemed to be the biggest regret. Circles which have guided/dictated our social interaction for the past four years.
We sat down to share a meal and started talking about the four years that have been and it was impossible to ignore the fact that outside of these circles, there is unlikely any out-of-class bonding that has taken place between us.
I can, on request, churn out memories after memories after memories with certain individuals that have been hallmarks in the past 4 years of my life. I looked around that table as we shared our last meal and was saddened by the fact that this was true for only a handful of people. The rest, in some cases, even their names are a task to recall. Imagine what the situation will be several months(years) from now.
We should have gotten to know each other a bit more, we did not. Our time is up and crying about it will not give us more . We should have started the class lunch tradition much much earlier. If you still have some time in your student-life, a year or two, maybe four…go out of your way to get to know your classmates. In uni, I know this will be challenging because of the freedom the setting affords us, but try. In hindsight, you will wish you had. It will lessen your could, would and should haves.
72 hours before my final full-stop, I hit the epitome of an existential crisis. I’d had another tough paper and came to my house to find a little more rejection mail, things looked so bleak. So I cried, because it makes me feel better.
Finishing school is a mentally-tasking task. Not necessarily in the way you think. It is a glaring reminder that it is time to grow up. It is the realisation that the best years of your life are now over(I refuse, my best years are still ahead of me!). It is the hostile confrontation that the world expects you to have some things figured out by this point. It is a panicked frenzy at the realisation that no, you in fact do not have it figured out. It is a flurry of applications sent here, there, everywhere. Motivation letter, one after another, sent everywhere. Even for the opportunities that you know you would not be too happy if you ended up at. You…tell yourself you need options. Safety. Fall-backs. Having options is better than having nothing, so you apply for everything in sight.
If you are the average soon-to-be graduate, a certain number of these opportunities will reject you, either silently, by never getting back to you, or right in the face, with a carefully composed email. An email which will tell you that due to the high number of applications and despite your obvious awesomeness, you just were not a good enough fit for the position, followed by the explanation that they shall give no explanation as to why you did not make the cut.
Emails which you may re-read every so often, wondering what exactly it was. Wondering if things would be different if you had spent a bit more time on your motivation letter. If you had perhaps not checked out of AIESEC(or whatever it is your university life was about besides the academics) when you did, if maybe you should have taken on a more challenging role, perhaps this would have made your CV a tad-bit more attractive. If perhaps, you are just not the person you imagined you were. The high achieving, definitely going to make it, go-getter. Maybe you are just aiming too high.
Doubt. Fear. Uncertainty. Fueled by the fact that your closest friends may be having completely different luck. Acceptances all round.
Try not to compare. Try not to be discouraged. Chase the things that will actually make you happy. Take the time to sit down and identify what those are. Let nothing limit you! Set goals so high that you will have to grow, evolve, into the version of you that will achieve them. Try not to let the rejections and disappointments ‘unvalidate’ you. Whatever it was, it just wasn’t for you. What is meant for you will come for you, it is on the way. Trust the process. Trust your process.
Also, a parting quote, a bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch but in its own wings. Always believe in yourself.
So, to all you out there who just finished school, Kathleen, this goes for you too, you will be just fine.
P.S. I roll my eyes every time I read a long and emotional FaceBook status update about completing 8.4.4. Funny that I sat and wrote down several hundred words.
Now, go forth and be amazing!