This past weekend while doing some reflecting (watching The Mindy Project and listening to Celine Dion…just kidding, I also went on the START retreat), I came to a realization: I have been in school for 17 years. For 17 years, I have been a student. And because it’s been a huge part of who I am, I’m a little freaked out about what will happen in 38 days when I’m a student no longer, and instead a college graduate.
Life, I have found, is a series of stages. Within those stages, we learn, we grow, we get stronger and, with each step, we uncover new truths about ourselves.
In my grade primary yearbook (that’s kindergarten, for you Americans), there was a survey asking us what we wanted to be when we “grow up.” My answer: a substitute teacher and a veterinarian. Clearly, I’ve always been a bit indecisive. During those days, my friends and I would play school at my house, where I had chalkboards and desks, and I would be Ms. Sampson. After my friends would leave, I would throw on a white coat and pretend to check my dog for serious diseases and then, of course, I’d cure her with a treat.
By seventh grade, the dreams had shifted. I wanted to be an architect. And Christmas gifts came in the form of a pink hard hat and pink tool sets. (If you ever need a pink hammer, I’m your girl.) In math class, we created 4D bedroom floor plans. Though mine was cool (Bratz themed, obviously), the bed was also nine yards squared. Quickly, I was learning math was not my strong point. So, once again, I moved on.
Onto high school, when I wanted to be a politician. I immersed myself in student government. I started out as a finance minister (which I’m sure my credit card company would be proud to hear), and I finished out my high school student government career as Prime Minister. And though my high school peers may have voted me “Most Likely to be the next Canadian Prime Minister” in the yearbook superlatives, I decided to leave the country instead.
Onto a new stage.
Onto a new part of life.
And knowing me, onto a new career choice.
I was going to be a marketing major. I was going to design cool advertisements, and I was going to sell Trix to the whole entire world. Because Trix are not just for kids.
Here I am, four years later…not a marketing major. Instead, I’m an English major. An English student in this crazy accounting world.
An English student who’s about to be an English student no more.
It’s a funny thing—to say goodbye to the title you’ve held for 17 years. To say goodbye to GPAs, professors, homework and cramming for exams. To say goodbye to the one constant I’ve had.
And it’s stranger, still, to say goodbye to school. This school. The school where I fell in love. With donuts. The school where I learned that family isn’t just blood relatives, but instead the people who take you in during freak October snowstorms. The school where I finally realized that education is about more than a grade. The school where I realized a major is more than a fast track to a post-grad job; it’s about capitalizing on who are you as a person—the way you think, the way you work, the way you are.
While it is strange (and depressing) to say goodbye to the changing external factors, it’s comforting to know that even when the English-major-student title disappears, I am still a thinks-like-an-English-major person.
No longer will I be scrawling prose out on my notebook margins in the middle of a college lecture; instead, I’ll probably be covering work documents with words and stories (future employers, please disregard that statement). Because, what I’ve learned is that removing a label doesn’t change you—it frees you.
Will I miss saying I’m a student when passport control at the U.S./Canadian border asks for my occupation? Yes. But because I no longer have to say student, and because I no longer have to be a student, the options are pretty endless. And is freeing. I am who I am. And that’s a girl who loves words—reading them, writing them, watching them be said by low-paid actors in Hallmark movies. And that can’t change no matter how many titles I say goodbye to, and no matter how many phases of life I shift through.
In the words of my good buddy Timbaland, this is the way I are. (Dear Timbaland, if you’re looking for a grammar editor, I’ll be available in 38 days.)
A new stage of life is quickly approaching. And that’s intimidating. Goodbyes are intimidating. What’s next is intimidating. What’s comforting, however, is knowing that some things will forever and always be the same: Celine Dion will always be a goddess. Mindy Kaling will always be hilarious. I will always be the way I are. You will always be the way you are.
And, most importantly, donuts will always be delicious—gluten filled or not.