On May 20, 2006, I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications (dual major in Journalism & Public Relations) from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY after having the best four years of my life. I made so many lifelong friends and learned so much about life and myself. I loved my four years at Marist and was absolutely devastated (and scared shitless) to be leaving.
On September 2, 2007, – my mom’s birthday – my youngest sister, Christie began her journey at Marist as an accounting major. As my parents moved their youngest daughter out of the house, I brought my boyfriend of one month (Jay) up to Marist to help move her in/meet my parents and family for the first time.
My, how much can change in four years. Tomorrow, Christie graduates from Marist and Jay and I are married. Five years ago today, I graduated, terrified about what lay ahead and feeling lost over the tremendous sense of loss that I had. I have a lot more to say but I’m going to keep this post short:
To Christie and anyone else out there who is facing a big change in life or experiencing a sense of being lost, I just want to remind you that even if you can’t see it, every little thing you do, every emotion you feel and every choice you make can change your life, so don’t ever give up. Is my life perfect right now? Not at all. I’m starting to accept that I may never actually find a job in journalism and I am at a crossroads with the opportunity to go back to school and change career paths. But rather than harp on the disappointment I feel, I do other things like blog or write down story ideas. When I couldn’t find a job after I graduated, I (co)started a podcast after months of beating myself up and crying about being a “failure.” Look where that got me (a husband and a lot of friends, some of whom I am very close with).
I would be a hypocrite if I were to tell someone not to feel bad for themselves because I’m a very emotional, expressive person who wears her heart on her sleeve. But I will repeat until you hear it in your sleep that you have to keep going. Even if you’ve given up, keep going. Get out of bed and do something, anything, because you never know how quickly life can change, even if it’s been a slow build up. Life will pass you by if you stay in bed all day. As Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” Make sure you are there as it goes on.
When I left Marist, I still used AOL Instant Messenger every day and I, like a lot of my friends, would post up quotes about saying goodbye. I have a lot of those saved but they’re on an external hard drive that I left at home in Raleigh (I’m in NY right now). I’ll have to pull those up tomorrow night but for now, here are two of my favorites that I still remember:
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“We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.” -Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” -Gilda Radner