Sometimes I can’t help but feel like Naoko from Norwegian Wood. Graduation is fast approaching and I can’t help but feel left behind as everyone else is moving on with their lives. I find myself sometimes wanting to say “Don’t forget me” to people I care about. I know that I’ll be moving on to better things too, but sometimes I just feel like everyone else is moving at a faster pace. I have to constantly remind myself that there’s much better things to look forward to in the future than whatever remains in the past. I know that there’s better things after college, like the real world, real responsibilities, and real life-not trivial concerns like having to study for midterms or having to wake up for a 9 am class. I can’t keep clinging on to old notions and sentiments, or else I’ll be stagnant and stationary in an ever changing world. I don’t want to be like Naoko anymore, I have so much more to live for.
I’ve suppressed dealing with graduation for months now, and I’m finally coming to terms with it. A sense of an ending is just the start of a new beginning. Life after college is uncharted territory, it’s scary, but it’s also exciting and promising. With that being said, I’ve chosen to use a quote by Mark Twain to go on my cap: ” So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I’m scared, but I’m ready for what the future holds. There will be failure, but that very failure can be the catalyst for profound reinvention and the solid foundation upon which I build my new life. I just have to constantly remind myself of the values and principles I live by, and the dreams that propel me to move forward towards a brighter tomorrow. Fear is irrational because in the big scope of things, we realize that things weren’t so bad after all. Sometimes we think that our foes are big scary invincible monsters, but if we step back we realize that they’re merely windmills. It’s just a matter of perspective.
Maybe the fear is necessary to remind us that we’re doing something new. I was scared when I entered college. I knew a handful of people from my high school, but it was insignificant to the vast amount of people in my school. I felt lost in a sea of new faces, as though I was drifting away aimlessly in a current of people passing by. But as college went on, I found a niche, I made friends, I found a place and made it my own. I have no doubt in my mind that the same will happen when I go to grad school, or even when I finish grad school and find a lab to work for. The cycle just continues, it may be new faces and new places, but the process is the same.
I cannot hold onto a place, just for the sake of safety. I have to be willing to let go when I am no longer growing as a person, and it no longer helps me towards where I need to be. The same goes for people, I have to respect myself, and the other person, enough to know when to let go. They must go on with their journey, as do I. Even after we leave places or part with people, they’ll always hold a special place in our hearts and memories. There will always be history in places we leave behind and with people we spent a period with. The memories are the souvenirs of the past and will be part of the things we carry along our different journeys. They serve to provide us hope for better times to come when things get rough instead of memories that can never be relived again.
I’m letting go of my futile attempt to hold on to college, and along with it the fear of moving on. I’m letting go in order to make room for better things to come. The world is too vast and beautiful to be unexplored and undiscovered. I’m sailing away from the safe harbor and onto uncharted territories.