By Meredith Wilshere
If you had ever told the eager-eyed, over-enthusiastic freshman version of myself that one day she would be looking down the barrel of another taboo g-word — graduation — she actually would have laughed in your face. She had known seniors, sure, but to her graduation meant there was just going to be a whole class of people leaving and a whole other class of people being ushered out. She never thought it would be her.
I spent a good amount of winter break back in London, as it had been one year since I moved there for study abroad. Walking streets I had known so well with both new and old friends made me reflect on and imagine what was to come in the coming months. A year ago, I had no idea how my life was going to shape up as. I didn’t know that traveling was going to change me as much as it had, and I didn’t know I was going to fall in love with physical places and even more in love with my friends. I go into this last semester with the same uneasy and nervous feeling about what lies ahead.
My senior year at college feels similar to what it felt like to walk the halls of my high school knowing that in a few months I would be moving to a new city and a new state. At that point, once the realization had set in, I had the intention to find closure with a few of my classmates. There came a feeling where a lot of the drama that had occurred didn’t matter anymore. I let go of grudges I had been feeling since freshman year. I am trying to go into this new semester with this same intention. In the great beyond that is graduation, I want to go with debts settled and resentments forgiven.
The reality of all of it ending soon is finally settling in — those I see every day, those I pass on different street corners and have had several classes with, I will no longer see anymore. Friends gained and friends lost alike will move to different cities, different countries and start a different chapter of their lives that revolves around things other than undergraduate academia. I have gotten used to people coming and going over the years, but I never thought it would be this dramatic.
A looming graduation puts a damper on many of my relationships, but it also provides opportunities. Although looking for a job and a place to live within the next year is going to be stressful, I should emphasize spending time with my friends right now. This includes reaching out to those I may have lost touch with and continuing to spend time with the friends I’ve made during my past few years at Boston University. For me, it also means making amends with those I have hurt in these past few years and accepting apologies from those who have hurt me.
I know that a lot of this can sound tried and true. Indeed, there are so many songs written about not knowing how good something is until you know it’s the end. Other songs are written about the impending feelings of thing ending. In a group chat with some of my closest friends, we have banned the word “graduation.” I know this does not come with the childish fear of growing up, and being a “person in the real world” as many have claimed graduation forces you to become — it comes from the fear of not being immediately surrounded by those you love. I can be the first to say it: I am very scared to not live in a city with my best friends. I am going to miss seeing them almost every day, passing people I know on the street and apartment hopping for movie nights. These are the relationships that have changed me the most — my platonic friendships.
I know graduation is one of those things that is easy to ignore until you have to — until you’re collecting your diploma and walking away from the place you’ve called home the past few years. I write about it because of the way I know it’s going to change a lot of my relationships, knowing it may be for better or for worse. Many of my friends and I are moving into different chapters of our lives and that makes this semester all the more special and important. It serves as a reminder to cherish those around you and focus on making the most of the time we have together.