It only took me three schools, about 4 different majors and 7 years to do it, but last weekend I graduated from Rhode Island College with a BA in English with a minor in Creative Writing.
Everyone keeps asking me how I feel now that I am “not a student anymore”. I feel a lot of things.
First, I am really fucking proud of myself. (Don’t quote me on this but,) I’m pretty sure I’m the only woman on my mother’s side of the family to make it through a 4 year college. I’ll have to check with my grandmother for exact stats.
Second, I feel like a loser in a lot of ways. [There, I said it first, so people can’t say it behind my back]. Believe me, no one is more aware than me that after 7 + years of school most people walk away with at least a masters if not a doctorate. It was really hard for me to feel like I deserved to be happy about graduating.
It’s also been hard because I have decided not to go to graduate school right now. I feel like I went into college trying to appease everyone except myself. While I am very happy I went, I want to make sure that whatever I get a masters in, I am 100% sure I love it. I need to go for myself, not for the sake of proving to every asshole that I can make it.
People also keep asking me what I’ve learned, so I made them a list. I’ve narrowed my list down from 200 lessons to about 10:
1. I have learned: I should’ve gone to community college first. CCRI was SO stigmatized at my high school that I wouldn’t consider it as an option. It was called 13th grade by most teachers and ending up at “CC” was used as a threat by teachers who were attempting(?) to inspire better performance out of students. The joke’s on them though because out of all three schools, CCRI was my favorite by far.
2.I have learned: I’ve discovered that shitty teachers come in many forms. Some just straight up can’t teach, but the more harmful ones are those that can teach, and teach well, but openly label students as “worth their time” and “not”. I’ve learned I don’t have time for that kind of bullshit.
3. I have learned: I should’ve never moved to NYC.
4. I have learned: to surround myself with brilliant, inspiring, gorgeous, driven, accomplished people. Meeting my fiance and all the people who have come into my life since then has been life changing for me. For a long time I did not feel worthy of being around people who did great things and I was super intimidated when I met Chris and found out he had done all this traveling and was an artist. And I felt even more intimidated when I met a lot of his friends who were just brilliant, radiant souls. What I found is that cool people want to embrace you. If someone isn’t going to be your friend because you haven’t peaked yet at 22, then fuck them.
4. I have learned: One can hit rock bottom more than once. One can also hit rock bottom, and then pick up a jackhammer and keep going down until they burn up. Shitty stuff happens, sometimes for a reason, usually not though, but generally I’ve learned to recover.
5. I have learned: feminism is awesome.
6. I have learned: IT IS OK TO CHANGE YOUR MINDDDDDDD I’m 25. I have a lot of opinions. If I don’t change my mind at least 20 times a month, then I’m not learning anything new.
7. I have learned: Travel is so important.
8. I have learned: Most things are subjective.
9. I have learned: You just have to let some shit/friends/family/possessions go.
10. I have learned: I am capable and worthy of so much and I intend to go for it all, but at my own pace because my life is not about anyone, except me.