I still remember the pure joy that came from my last first day of high school. It was like the entire school was buzzing because my grade knew that after that day, we were done with that whole coming back to the same classrooms, and hallways, and people after every summer. In a year, we would be across the country, in different classrooms, walking down different hallways, with different people. It was all anyone could talk about, everyone was Facebook and tweeting it, (was snapchat a thing then? not really that I can remember – not yet! but if it was, we would have been snapping it too). It felt like the beginning of the rest of my life, this pinnacle of a day that I’d been waiting for forever.
My last first day of college is a lot quieter. Because it isn’t everyone’s last first day and it isn’t that it doesn’t matter, (because it very much does and believe me, I was just as excited to wake up this morning as I was four and a half years ago) it’s that it doesn’t matter as much as graduation will. Because graduation, the culmination of my hard work, tears, late nights, stress, heartbreak, the last four years of my life, that is what I’m looking forward to more now.
Academically, high school was easy for me. I wasn’t challenged, I was lazy, I didn’t push myself, and my diploma was just a piece of paper that I didn’t really work for, (at least that’s how it feels). I have worked, I have put in the hours, I have stretched myself beyond what I thought possible, for my undergraduate degree. And you bet, I will be so unbelievably proud to receive it, (sometime this summer once they’ve officially approved me for graduation because no one actually gets it in April lol).
So my last first day, while special, signals the start of more work, not less. I didn’t want to skate by my senior year, I didn’t want easy semesters, I wanted to keep pushing and that’s what I’ll do because I am so grateful for every second I get to spend in the classroom with people infinitely wiser than I am. This day is a little bittersweet in that respect, but thankfully next fall I should be in the classroom once again – for my graduate degree, this time.
I hope you all had wonderful first days, (or will have great ones when they happen) and I am so excited to be a part of the class of 2017.