Friday, April 5, 2013

Not Quite Graduating

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang, but a whimper.
---- T. S. Eliot “The Hollow Men”

To begin on a cheerful note, the lines I just quoted from Eliot’s brilliant poem kind of reflect how I’m feeling right now. I have just a week left of classes, and I’m done at King’s forever. I’ll never have these profs again, or go to classes with many of my friends. When exams end in a month, I’ll never return as an undergraduate.

There should be ceremony. There should be speeches, and prizes, and fancy black hats, and flowers. Instead, I’m just sort of leaving. After all, I’m only done third year. I’m not even graduating. And yet, because I’m going to Scotland next year, I might as well be.

Maybe this is one of the reasons they don’t advise going on exchange in your fourth year (aside from the fact that getting all your required courses done can be a headache). There’s no closure. There’s no recognition of everything I’ve accomplished at King’s. Even next year I won’t be at the May convocation with the rest of my class since I’ll still be writing exams in Scotland. I’ll have to graduate in the fall, with all the kids who needed summer school to finish up. I’m just sort of slipping away.

I don’t regret deciding to go to Scotland. I’m beyond excited to head off, and I know I’ll have an amazing time. BUT… leaving King’s is a little bitter-sweet. I’ve only been here for two years, and it feels like I’m not really quite done yet. I could do another year.

Maybe it’s a good thing to leave now, when I’m still going to look back fondly on my years at King’s. I see so many of my fourth year classmates sighing “I can’t wait to get out of here!” and I completely understand their perspectives. Four years at the same school could get a little old. For me, I’ll have attended four different universities by the time I’m done my undergrad. I’ve had so many opportunities, and no time to get tired of anything.

I’m excited to move on, but I’ll definitely miss King’s. I guess that’s how life is, constantly mediating between the past and the future. But for the present, I’ll enjoy my last month at King’s, even if that last month is spent frantically writing exams. :)

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