Okay, fam. I’ve been on a mental/emotional roller coaster today, and I feel like I ought to share why.
My family and I got back home from our Disney trip around 1am this morning. I slept so good, ya’ll… but that’s beside the point. Anyways, I woke up around 9am and remembered that I promised to sell a few textbooks, so I decided to take a small little road trip to Raleigh, NC to get rid of the dusty pile of books that were in the corner of my room. Today was the FDOC for Meredith students, so I figured this would be a good day to drop the books off.
Now, if you know me at all, then you know just how much I love Meredith College (which is my Alma mater). Each time I’ve been in Raleigh since I graduated a few months ago, I have driven around and even walked some of the halls again. I’m a nostalgic person. Sue me. This time was different, though. Students were all over the place, and, frankly, I felt – for the first time ever on this campus – that I did not belong there.
I was originally hanging out in the student center with my laptop in my old hangout spot in the corner of the room, and I felt so ignored. I’m not a super popular person – that’s not what I’m saying. But I had no purpose there other than to get rid of books. I overheard conversations about teachers cancelling classes on the first day (I never got that lucky!), what some women did during their summer vacations, roommate problems, etc. And there I was: just sitting in the corner, applying for jobs (because homegirl needs one), and waiting for people to pick up their books. I felt so… old... At Meredith, of course I still felt welcomed and like a part of the family, but something just felt off…
I saw several people in the building that I actually knew, and I yet I found myself dodging them if I could. Students ended up filling up the room, and I felt completely out of place as preparations were being made for the Student Organizations Fair that was about to start (and that I honestly completely forgot even existed). I saw the new President and Vice President of the club that I used to lead last year, and I considered going up to them to see how things were coming along with the club, but I decided against it; it’s their job now. Let them be.
As I gathered my belongings and made my way to my former Business building, I thought to myself that I ought to message my former roommate (and college best friend) to see if she wanted to get dinner or something since I was in the city, but that thought quickly vanished when I remembered that she had a new roommate now and that it is her first day of her senior year, after all. Maybe I’ll catch up with her next time I come back to Raleigh.
I sat near a window so that the sun rays could warm me up as much as they could in the freezing Business building that I knew too well. As I sat there, living the crazy life and applying for jobs, I saw students that I had never seen before pass by the window. They didn’t know that I could see them, nor would they have cared. They were the new freshwomen on campus, trying to figure out where they belonged. I saw students that I did know pass by, too, and a sense of pity rose in me, knowing that they also will soon know how it feels to no longer belong in the place that they loved more than anything.
A metamorphosis happened to me today. It took me nearly four months to finally feel like I could move on with my life. Go ahead and say that I have letting go issues or that I was too attached to my Alma mater – maybe, to some extent, you are right. I just never quite felt like my time was truly done on the Meredith College campus. My picture is still hanging up in the English building hallway, my painting still covers parts of the senior tunnel, and I still know the majority of the students. Well, for now.
Change is scary and sometimes even heartbreaking, but it’s needed to grow as a person. Meredith College will always have a special place in my heart. I mean, that college shaped me into the person that I am today, and I owe so much to it! I’m not discrediting or disrespecting it by letting go – I’m simply moving on to become even stronger.
For my friends still at Meredith, enjoy your time there and soak it all up. Meredith truly is Wonderland.
And, for my friends that are fellow graduates, I love you and I’m rooting for you all.
Until next time,
Your Optimistic Graduate