This past weekend I graduated from college. Four years of essays, movie sets, concerts, road trips, late nights, good friends, junk food, etc. etc. etc. All of it over in the blink of an eye and the moving of a tassel. Lately, I’ve been fluctuating between thinking that it all went by too fast, and it couldn’t have moved any slower.My Rochester family will always be my Family, but we don’t live together anymore– we left our apartment of three years, still totally recognizable as home even though all of our stuff was gone. Saying goodbye to my kitchen was the hardest part.
I’ve been thinking about the different types of goodbyes that this move includes. There’s one, the most noticeable, which is saying goodbye to life as a student. I’m saying goodbye to assignments, homework and instant feedback. I’m also saying goodbye to a community of other learners who are all working towards a similar goal, who are sharing similar struggles, and who are all coming together in one place to share an experience. I have no idea how losing the title of “student” will affect me, and I’m sure that time will tell, but a lot of my peers have warned me that it’s gonna be a challenging experience– so we’ll see how that goes.
I’m saying goodbye, most importantly, to my people. The friends and acquaintances who I’m losing, the co-workers and familiar faces that have made my experience at college so special. There are people who I’m sure I’ll keep in touch with, and relationships that I think will likely fizzle out. I’m truly interested to see where so many of these people end up and how close we remain, and I keep daydreaming about a future, years from now, when six of us are sitting in someone’s apartment or house and it feels like absolutely no time has passed. I can’t wait for this daydream to come true.
And of course, I say a big, sad goodbye to Rochester, New York. This is the goodbye that I realized I was the least prepared for, despite how much preparation I tried to do. I’ll miss my record stores and restaurants, I’ll miss my two favorite bars (Lux and The Old Toad). But in all sincerity, I just didn’t notice how much Rochester had become my home.
I’ve never spent a full calendar year in Rochester. Every summer that I was in college I either went back home or had an internship in a different city. And for my first two years of college, I didn’t think that I had gotten around the town much. In leaving, I realized just how much I had sunk my teeth into Rochester’s little quirks and corners.
Over graduation weekend my whole immediate family was in town, and I was so anxious about trying to give them the best experience of Rochester they possibly could. This is a city that I adore, and that will always be a part of me, so I wanted to show my family exactly how cool the city is. As soon as I left I remembered fifteen places I had planned to take them, and I think that this was my biggest takeaway from the actual graduation weekend experience– everyone was there for graduation. The fact that we didn’t do too too much else in Rochester was because Graduation is a lot. You would be surprised by how exhausted you can be from a day of sitting, standing, and waiting.
I’ve decided to let myself off the hook for maybe not showing my family all of the best that Rochester had to offer (although we were able to go to both of my favorite museums, Artisan Works and The Strong Museum of Play), because I know that what I really wanted was to have one last experience with all of my favorite Rochester locations. And this isn’t the end of my relationship with this place. There will be plenty more opportunities for me to go back and visit (including one trip that I already have planned for August).
This is the start of the next chapter. The last one was pretty spectacular, and I have nothing but love for the people and the places that I’ve gotten to get to know during it.