Today is my last day of undergraduate classes. I’ve been so excited for this moment, but as I rub my eyes and shift my covers this morning, I notice the excitement isn’t there. I rush to get ready, just like every other morning, and lock the door behind me. I walk out into the cold morning with a sense of finality weighing on my heart.
I go to chapel for the last time (Praise the Lord). I’m not very sad about that. I think I’ll miss the idea of chapel and the idea of worshiping with my peers and professors, but as I think about chapel from a day-to-day stance, I remember the frustration I often felt as I watched man after man assume the lectern, wishing a woman could stand there (just once).
I go to work in the English department. I make copies. I finish a little last minute reading for my class at eleven.
I go to my Victorian literature class, one of my favorites, for the last time. I don’t make many comments. I want to remember my professor’s face as he laughs at the absurdity of our shenanigans – the class gets kind of rowdy on Fridays (sometimes Mondays and Wednesdays, too).
I stay in the room for our weekly English department gatherings, my professors eating their lunches as they talk with us about any and every subject that arises – from Star Wars to how a professor’s sandwich symbolizes his life. Again, I don’t make many comments; I just breathe, feeling the energy in the room that occurs only when professors and students interact.
I go to work again – I grade a couple of things and go on a mail run. Mostly I just sit and enjoy being in the office. The bell rings, signaling my shift is over. I don’t move. As one of my professors comes back into his office, I follow him, promising to only stay for a minute. (I think we both know that’s a lie, but we don’t say it.) We chat like usual. He turns to his computer to send an email, and I look around his office in an attempt to regain my composure as two tears make their way down my face. I finally voice my concerns about the future and my worries about transitioning into a time of change and growth that I know will be good, but still can’t wrap my mind around. And it’s a good last day.
This is the American Studies building. It’s where I’ve learned and grown and cried and struggled and laughed for the last four years. Next semester I’m going to be student teaching, a time of half-still-in-college-half-in-the-real-world confusion. I know I’m not leaving yet, but I kind of am. I’m so thankful for this building and all of the people in it who have shaped my life so substantially in such a short period of time. They’ve helped me figure out what I love about English and how to share that with the world, something I am so grateful for. As I go out into “the real world” and figure out what that even means, I’ll do my best to repay them for everything they’ve done for me by working, teaching, and learning until this life is over.