Post Grad Life: When It Hits.

I knew I would be sad when my final semester of college started. I knew I would be sad when my final week of college started. I knew I would be sad on graduation day.  What I didn’t know was how sad I would be 2 and a half months later, on a random day in the middle of August.

I was driving home from work, mind wandering aimlessly on tasks of the day and what I had to do when I got home to prepare for the day that would follow. I had the radio on, as I always do, performing a mini concert for myself comprised of anything from Beyonce to Carrie Underwood, as I always do. With one change of the station, it felt like I drove my little Ford into a brick wall. The song playing was ‘Wake Me Up’ by Aviici. It is a song that once meant so much: trying on a million different outfits while stomping my feet screaming that I had nothing to wear, driving around Amherst on the same tank of gas I’d had for 2 weeks, singing at the top of my lungs with great friends. However, on that day in the middle of August, it suddenly didn’t have the same effect. Memories of all of those careless college days came rushing to the forefront of my mind and now, as the song was playing, I was simply driving home from work, about to make the same drive back in about 14 hours.

My friends in grades above kept telling me toward the end of the year that it wouldn’t feel real. But honestly, it did feel real. It felt real to me at the beginning of that final semester, that final week, and on graduation day. It all felt completely real. I didn’t realize until just the other day that what I was feeling then wasn’t reality. I was feeling change, sure. I was definitely feeling moving out of my 3rd floor apartment. But I wasn’t feeling reality.

When it hits, you really realize that you aren’t going back. Of course there is alumni weekend and the precious football tailgates that we can all get back, but we can never get most of it back. We can never get sitting on the couch watching SVU marathons for hours on end back. We can never get waking up at 10am and being done with our day by 3pm back. We can never get the panicked feeling of “how am I going to study for all of these exams and still not miss one social event” back.

But at the end of the day, we still have our memories. On my lunch break today I was looking through old pictures and laughing out loud about all of the crazy things we did. I’ll never forget all of the amazing people I met or all of the days I didn’t change out of yoga pants. Sure, the memories won’t always be so clear (or fuzzy), but they’ll always be ours.

At the end of the song I switched to listening to Pandora. The first song that came on was ‘Home’ by Dierks Bentley. No matter how much time goes by or how many songs bring us back to somewhere we can never really go back to, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed. In the words of Dierks: 

“This is still the place that we all call home.”