campus of Carnegie Mellon University, May 2011
today, at noon exactly, I handed in the final paper of my college career. I woke up early this morning to finish it (in accordance with the rest of most major events of the last 4 years), and it was too easy to just slip it into the box with all of the others.
I've worked really hard to get to this point. I've switched majors, cried a lot of tears, and have spent too many nights without sleeping.
I was really intense in high school. I thought that getting out of my small Vermont town would solve all of my problems and would lead me onto a life of greatness. I thought that my SAT scores would let me conquer the world, and I didn't think I would have to work too hard to do what I wanted. little did I know that I was going to a school that would test you, break you, and charge you wayyyyyy too much money for your degree.
I ended up taking a semester off in the spring of 2009, and it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. when you let yourself relax and come up above the stress, you can realize a lot of things. for me, I saw how unhappy I was. I was stuck in the perpetual machine of problem sets, difficult friendships, and poor choices. when I allowed myself to come up for air, I saw things in a new light. I could breathe easier and decided to take a different approach to life.
this new approach let me study things in which I was actually interested. I could stay up for hours and enjoy what I was reading. suddenly, school wasn't a chore. I cared.
it also let me fly across the globe and study in a new country amongst people I never thought I would meet. as an engineering double major, there was absolutely no way I could leave my home university for a year. as a humanities student, this was part of the deal. I came to Denmark and my world opened up. suddenly, I was visiting cities I had only read about and meeting people who could provide me with a perspective I couldn't read in a book. life changing does not begin to describe this experience.
and now, I'm done. my diploma should arrive in the mail within a few weeks. I don't have a job, plans to get my next degree, or any real decisions about my next step, but I am totally OK with this.
most of my friends have big plans. they are working on Wall St, or they are already in competitive PhD programs. they have nice apartments with regular pay checks. I wouldn't want that, though. I want to keep exploring. their goals aren't my goals, and I'm OK with that. this is a difficult concept for a lot of them, and I'm also totally fine with that. I want different things. I want to move, to explore, and to keep learning. I'm not ready for a cubicle or a thesis. I'm 22 with a million opportunities. maybe you want to wear a suit and eat sushi for dinner every night, but I've got some other things I'd like to try first.