This is a really weird time of year for me: everyone’s off back to school and I’m just sorta…well, not going. I’m still technically a student but my thesis is all that needs to get done (the defense at least) so there’s no classroom time for me. I really think I should be celebrating, “Yahoo! I’m (almost) done!”, but I’m not.
It probably doesn’t help that I live in a university town and spent my summer working with a lot of still actual students. As August moved into September things changed. Even the air changed, it started to become cooler and a little breezy; weather that I never realized I associated with heading back to university.
In a lot of ways, I miss it. I miss going off for a long overnight drive. We’d pack the car the day before and I would go to my last day of work the next day, heart pounding at the recognition that I’d bid the museum and that years’ co-workers goodbye at the end of the day. I’d wake up the next day finally back home with plans to meet up with my friends already in the works.
I miss the big day when all of us were finally moved back into the city. We’d try to be lowkey when we first met, but if it dissolved into screaming and hugging well, that’s what we needed after such a long summer. We’d get food, mostly just junk if I’m honest, and sit out in the sun, legs outstretched, and just talk for hours.
I miss the classes and the reading. I was part of a program in my BA which combined political science, philosophy, and English literature. Getting that reading list was always exciting! I’d buy my books and feel a little overwhelmed at the amount of reading, but then I’d get home and flip through all of them, savouring the new book smell. I’d try and fail to pull off the price stickers too, so that part of the back cover was always sticky. It was annoying then, but I can only look back and laugh because I just kept doing it.
Sometimes it was hard. Sometimes all the work felt never-ending. But in moments like that I’d walk around campus, ride the bus, or grab some friends and head to the board game café. Doing so just let me exist in the moment and stop worrying for a little while. I took that for granted, I recognize that now. I’d do it again in a heartbeat – but only if I could replay those specific four years.
You see, I don’t miss school. I certainly don’t miss my Master’s class year. I miss that particulars school, with those particular classes and the fantastic specific people. I don’t care if many of those friendship went on to crash and burn, to part ways on different paths, to exist in different worlds, they were good.
I liked the classes I took with the professors I had and those things aren’t static. They don’t exist frozen in time. In fact, at least two professors I hade have moved on for their own reasons. One of them was even my thesis advisor for my bachelor’s thesis. The other was a fantastic upbeat professor who never failed to convince me to love poetry and to check up on me when I looked about ready to lose it. He even made an exam optional (you could do another project instead) when I asked him what his game plan was if someone broke down and sobbed during the exam. I never did, by the way, but I also did the alternative project on that one.
My experience could have been wildly different if I had picked a different dorm, hadn’t been lucky enough to get paired up with my future best friend as a roommate, hadn’t met my other closest friend in a game of survival in the park during welcome week or a thousand other small happenings that made it all possible.
The unlikely events that had to occur to make my BA experience what it was is overwhelming. And I can recognize that that’ll never happen again. But that’s okay. I miss my friends and the time we got to spend together, but I can go forward with all my memories, the lessons I’ve learned, and the long-distance quiet types of friendships I still have. And that’s enough for me.
To anyone that might be reading this who have returned to school, I wish you the best of luck. Eat healthy, drink lots of water, and try to stay on top of your work. To pump you up here’s a song that I used to listen to before the big drive back to school; a little Harry Potter Musical for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yVuvU3Zjt0
For those of you like me, not returning to school and feeling a mix of emotions about that, the last scene from the final Harry Potter Musical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6Jm8ZkYuVc “There comes a time where you have to move on, a time where we have to let even Harry Potter go. And that’s okay.” “Okay is wonderful!”