My oh shit moment occurred several weeks ago when it dawned on me that by the time the end of April swings around, I will no longer have a student bus pass.
I get it – in the grand scheme of everything that will begin to change come April, my bus pass is probably pretty insignificant – but it’s tangible. It’s the thing I can hold between my finger tips more than anything else and know whole-heartedly that in five months it will no longer be there the way it was before. Tangibility, makes things a lot more real.
But aside from that, the true oh shit moment, is a much more slow progression. Something that began creeping up on me several months ago, and with the closing of this semester, is inevitably reaching greater heights. I suppose it is the combination of moments – the lingering effects of my impending graduation and realizing that day by day I am growing out of the safety blanket I have grown to call University. One that includes getting across the city in my tuition.
I never fully realized how much of a safety blanket being a student was. We’re so caught up in deadlines and trying to catch our breath that we spend most of the time half-heartedly waiting for it all to come to its inevitable end. To be honest, I spent the majority of my 4 years just trying to get by, and in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t.
But here I am – it’s 10:31pm, and I’m on my second glass of wine while alternating between staring hopelessly at two different term papers while another two and an exam await my declining attention span. I am in the midst of final papers and pressing final exams in a semester that was utterly back-loaded. Inevitably, I’ve lost my ability to become emotionally invested in my papers so I’m counting the days on the calendar until I can put the pencils down for a little while. Next semester, I may be clinging to those pencils like a lifeline.
I remember my first year of university like it was yesterday. I was half-tipsy off of excitement and alcohol while my best-friend and I moved our belongings into our dorm room and spied on each individual that walked by our open door. Three and a half years later, and everything looks completely different.
Somehow, I managed to gain the best of both worlds by completing my first two years in Guelph before deciding to transfer out to Vancouver in pursuit of a momentary glimpse of what I thought I wanted in life. The most amusing part is, the program that initially encouraged me to transfer is not the program I am in, nor a program I have even taken a single elective in. Yet I am here, learning to love things like rain and concrete because I have mountains and salt water in my backyard. I’m not complaining.
But the thing about being mid-university, is that when somebody asks you what you’re going to be doing several months from now, you can tell them all about the classes you’ll be enrolled in. And I’m learning that April means losing answers to notorious questions about what I am doing. This is something I am both utterly content with and yet continue to wrestle with on a frequent basis.
Sometimes, I feel as though I am attempting to catch up to my own reality. The people I have surrounded myself with at school, while being the same age, we have entered into university at different times and thus I am approaching the moment where I will be the first to leave. Back home – if I can call it that – my friends are getting graduation pictures together, and I sometimes wish I had somebody to be in mine.
Because perhaps the reality becomes a little more real when you’re sharing it with somebody else. When you’re living in a house full of friends and entering your final year means extra bottles of wine and a lot more dance parties in the living room. I suppose the essence is still the same – I live alone, but I can still buy more bottles of wine, and dancing is definitely more satisfying when there’s nobody around to know you’re doing it in your post-shower naked glow.
While rarely being involved in the ordeal of New Years resolutions, I already find myself scribbling one’s down in my journal. Things like taking one last opportunity to invest myself in courses and do something that pushes me just a little bit farther out of my comfort zone. Perhaps that is what led me to think that enrolling myself in a biology course just because it studied the science behind brewing was a good idea for a person who strictly does not understand science. But I want to try – almost four years later, I want to try to do more than get by.
University is weird because when we talk about it to our friends we’re rarely talking about the academics. University is a period in your life – an emotional and physical time that stretches beyond the classroom and into everything that happens between Monday and Sunday. The vast majority of my memories, have absolutely nothing to do with what happened in my lectures.
As a student, you meet a lot of people that last for semesters – some that you’re lucky enough will last for years. But you learn that the semesterly friends are no less important than the one’s that will probably be at your wedding and in some small way they shaped your memories.
I hold on to the moments that existed during my time at Guelph and since I have left with the utmost sincerity and I am afraid of the day when I start forgetting. When I start forgetting what it felt like to wake up in a residence hall – a townhouse – a townhouse residence – and a basement suite. I have shifted between temporary homes the past four years and I’ve learned how to build a home within myself and take it with me and I like them both. I have learned that people are dangerous shelters to create and when I started off as a student I never thought I would ever be this okay with being on my own. And sometimes, you can feel it hurt just a little bit – the way your heart has been stretched to hold all the places you have gone and all the people who have stepped in, walked out, or stayed along.
I can’t tell you where I will be living when May comes along. All I know, is that July I will spend walking the streets of Ontario and holding it in my heart knowing that the next time I get on a plane for Vancouver it will not just be for school. I can say that August I will be clinging to the hand of best-friend as we try to take in as much as we can of Europe, and I will be doing what I can to drag her back to Vancouver when our trip ends.
But September will come soon enough as it always does – and a wise friend once said that whenever somebody asks you what you want to do with your life, tell them this: “I will let you know, when I know.”
So I can tell you that in just one more semester I will be graduating from SFU though it will feel an awful lot like UoG too. I will miss my student bus pass, a lot – and remembering what it was like to wake up in res. On some days I will miss the way my safety blanket wrapped around me.
I can tell you that I will be living in Vancouver, because despite the various homes that have become a part of me the past four years, I am choosing this one, for now. And as for what I will be doing with my life – what all four years of university have lead me to choose to do – well, I will let you know when I know.
For now, I have five assignments and seven days and I have written 1,389 words on a blog when I can’t write 12 on an essay page.
Tonight – this is my oh shit moment.
April’s will be a bit different.