Two plastic storage bins are full by the front door in my apartment and I've started packing. My roommate approached me about the possibility of a graduation party. I have been trying to get on the phone this morning with my new landlord in the new city where I will move after graduation. I want to sell my car.
And yet, I'm teary-eyed and blubbery over the beauty of the flames flickering in the library's fireplace. My nose froze outside today with our first real snow of the year, but I'm even nostalgic about experiencing the harsh New England winters that were foreign to me before I lived in the Hudson Valley.
This dichotomy of pressure to complete tasks next to poignant moments when I'm filled with emotion, has left me very tired recently.
I'm scared and excited. The anticipation that I had in high school as I left home and started my new college life was cool in retrospect and I desperately wish that three years from now--these last few days in college are cool too.
Right now though, my anticipation is bordering on anxiety. My excitement is reassuring in a fleeting way but it rarely sticks around long enough to rid the stress tied up in the horrid knot that is permanently occupying space in my right shoulder.
I have a job and I am ready to sign a lease that doesn't involve my parent's basement (there is nothing wrong with that, by the way). I'm in a really good place. The stress of contacting restaurants and lugging my heavy backpack around while I slept on couches and tried to find a job is now a thing of the past. But I'm still so nervous about graduation.
I'm nervous about leaving my friends. I'm nervous about leaving the wisdom and guidance and love and support that I have found in these halls. I'm nervous about remembering everything that I've learned. I'm nervous about paying back these loans. I'm nervous about being successful and happy.
I've also been heavily analyzing my steps these past few weeks and this is what I've got. It may be rubbish, or there may be a tiny nugget that you can relate to. I hope for the latter.
Keep e-mailing that chef who holds the key to your dream job. Don't be rude, and don't you dare be whiny. Simple, professional, straightforward, and concise e-mails about what you want and inquiry about what needs to be done to get it. Maybe 15 times. If there is no response, then start getting creative. But don't give up. She just might call you back.
Tell people what you're thinking about and where you want to go because you never know who might have the network to catapult you into an incredibly advantageous position. It may not behoove you to gush about the restaurant and your destiny to work there because you never know who might also decide that they too must go. So be careful and be slightly ambiguous if you can't trust someone not to steal your brilliant career. But talk. Talk, talk, talk, talk. And ask people for advice.
Embrace the new but also remain confident in the old. I was caught off guard when a prospective employer offered their cell phone number and started texting me to figure out the details of my interview. If it seems totally normal to other people, then this isn't the first time that I've been accused of being a grandma in my old-fashioned views. However, if it is a surprise to others then let me take you through my thought process. Texting is a form of communication that only seems strange because of its recent invention and often casual nature. If we examine communication through history, couldn't it be said that there was a time when letters were strange when face to face was preferred? Or faxes were weird? Or e-mails? So the day has arrived when e-mail is occupying almost the same space as a texting format on phones. This could be an entire anthropological study. When it came time for an official job offer, I did ask for an e-mail because I feel confident with e-mails. But I also have to wonder, why not text?
Keep going, even when you have no idea where you're headed. I am constantly trying to chart my path and keep track of my direction. I want everything to be meaningful and purposeful. Each bit of energy that I expel should be focused and part of a trajectory towards something. I have spent many nights searching for apartments or cars on craigslist, only to change my mind. I have written many blog posts that seem really silly in retrospect. It is hard sometimes to understand the path that I'm creating, but I have to just keep creating a path. I make colossal mistakes and serious miscalculations, but I'm moving and I'm not sitting still---and I'm proud of that.
So look around right now and remember what you see.