Yesterday was my last day of college. Last day of school in general, unless I decide to go to Grad school at some point down the line. But as of now, I have no plans of doing so. It’s a weird feeling, to suddenly be done with a chapter of your life, especially when it’s all you’ve known. Up until now, I’ve always been a student. Since pre-school we’ve been coddled and helped along the way, and now we’re going to be on our own with little or no help. Everything has led up to this moment.
There’s a huge difference between a poor college student and a poor guy, and it looks like that’s where I’m going to be heading soon. Poor college students get breaks all the time. Free luncheons, t-shirts, and discounts match the already laid back attitude towards students. But no one really cares about a poor guy. Just another guy not making enough dough. Whether I write professionally or find another source of income, I’ll most likely have to make do and live less lavishly than I was raised. I’ve known this all along.
Parties have already been going on for weeks, and the celebrations will be continuing up until and after graduation. Celebrating the end of education and the beginning of a career in working. It’s kind of a weird transition. There’s no orientation to the real world. When I’m down in Ecuador, I’ll be in the real world of the 3rd World, or as it’s politically correct to now say, a developing country. When I come back I’ll most likely be in debt, because as a volunteer I won’t make any money, and will actually have to pay to go down there. But again, I understood this going into it, and I’m looking forward to it.
I said earlier that it’s the end of a chapter of my life, but if life is like a book then I should be able to come back and go over my favorite parts now and then, right? The education never has to stop. I can still take a class or two, or come back for a football game. I don’t need to have an essay due in order to read a book. But still, there’s nothing like a term paper due to light a fire under you.
There are many things I’ll miss and other things I won’t. My favorite restaurants in Amherst will be hard to replace. Bueno y Sano, possibly the best burritos on the east coast. I’ve been told once you go to California, east coast burritos are like Taco Bell, but I’ve never been, and can only continue to bow down to the Bueno.
Antonio’s pizza, a little slice of (cliche alert) heaven. There’s no substitute for New York style pizza, with an emphasis on Brooklyn, but Antonio’s has some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. To the Mexicana and Chicken Bacon & Ranch, you guys rock my world!
Wings Over Amherst. What can I say? The quickest delivery service on Earth. No matter how many times you tell me it will be 30 minutes, I know that as soon as I hang up the phone there’s gonna be a knock on the door. And honey-barbecue sauce to make Texans shed a tear.
And my more recent friend, House of Teriyake. HOT has some incredible sushi and the spicy chicken is out of this world. And, it’s BYOB, so you don’t have to spend extra money on drinks. Since it was a bit more expensive, going to HOT was a real treat and for special occasions only.
I’ll also miss the days when I could sleep in until 11 am and wonder why I woke up so early. One-class-days were like mini vacations, and my beloved Friday Afternoon Naps got me charged up for the weekend.
It’s only a matter of time before things change and you have to move on. To not do so would be pointless and depressing. Yet it’s still weird to have to say goodbye to friends you know you probably won’t see again, to the place you called home for four years, and to the only life you’ve known for so long. As my dad has said every last day of school for the 16 or so years: No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks. Congratulations Class of 2008.