Tonight, I’m sitting in my house, trying to get words on the page for what is very likely to be my last ever seminar paper, but they don’t want to come. Two years ago, I didn’t think this program would go fast enough. I’d just been turned down for jobs I wanted, sure I was ready for the real world, whatever that means, but I had two options: 1) Take the grad school offer that was only supposed to be a backup plan OR 2) Wait and hope for a job. And so I settled in for another two years at Auburn, confident that it wouldn’t be the same and sad to watch my friends leave to do other things.
And it wasn’t the same. It’s been more terrible and more gratifying than I could ever have imagined. I’ve gotten to study with professors I missed in undergrad and continued to study with professors I adored in undergrad. I’ve come into my own as a teacher. I’ve gotten to work as a student editor, writing coach, camp counselor and more. I’ve been the region coordinator for a national ARTS program, something very close to my heart. I’ve written more than a hundred pages of seminar papers and close to two-hundred pages of creative work, none of that counting drafts, weekly responses or feedback letters. We ALL have. Which is still a little bit nuts to me.
But that’s not the stuff I’ll miss. I’ll miss these people that I did this thing with. There’s Taylor cracking up in class, Nichole wanting desperately to punch someone, Mary creeping outside our windows, Russell rambling whenever he gets the chance, Jess being awesome at everything, Molly abbreviating words that should NEVER be abbreviated, Jill scaring the unsuspecting, Kellie’s teaching tweets, Christina’s and her lack of effs, Sam’s commentary, and then Chloe and I looking at each other, acknowledging our (my?) failure of the moment and laughing because it’s all so ridiculous.
And when I think about these people, and the first years, and my Ph.D. buddies, and professors that have all made this weird space in my life full of so many good times, I’m grateful. And it makes me sad to leave (if leaving is in fact where the job search takes me) and it makes me sad to think that finishing this LAST paper means that goodbye is on the horizon. And that’s why the words just don’t want to come.