One year ago, I was sitting in my chambre de bonne on the verge of (or maybe in) tears. I was trying to figure out what I will be doing with my life in one year. At the time I was a junior in college and abroad and displaced and confused and free and inspired all at once. And it was my birthday.
That year I turned 21. The fact that I will be graduating in a year hit me and left me in a state of whiplash. Everything at once. That I have goals but am afraid I won’t be adequate enough for the profession I seek. Where do I see myself? Where on earth will I be living? What in the world will I be doing? The quarter-life crisis.
Now a year later, many of the questions I had then are still unanswered. But I am not on the edge of my seat palpitating in anxiety. Well, maybe a little.
Since then, since coming back the US and starting my last year of college, many events have shaped my life in ways that is hard to explain. I’ve met people both in the US and abroad that I am grateful to call my friends. Each of these dear individuals is someone that I just happened to have come across somewhere at some point in my life. I may not see them often, but when I run into them on the way home from work, I yelp and don’t want to part all that quickly. They are the people who encourage your hobbies— you know those things you leave on the backburner—and ask you (really ask you) what’s new in your life since the last time you’ve caught up. They are never jealous of you because they are busy being happy for you.
After coming back from abroad and starting my last year, I’ve prioritize the work I actually like. Last fall, I took three literature classes (two in French and one in Spanish) and yes, I proudly made it out alive. That summer I watched about 50 French movies. I was living in books and film. This semester is a bit different. More technical as I’m trying to give myself the time and space to think about the next big step.
What I’m trying to say is that the Big Graduation comes in small steps. I had no idea that I would study French in college, let alone live in another country. Or that I would take a sign language class that would change how I think about language itself (I say this vaguely because that’s a story all in itself). Or any of the other things that could and did happen in four years. Slowly the protective umbrella of university life closes around you. But you’re not left helpless. You can see more now. And you’re left deciding who you want to be around and where you want to go. One thing leads into another, and you find yourself on the path you’ve been paving for yourself all along. Sitting on the edge of the seat was just part of it.
These are the types of things I’ve been thinking about.