This week, for the first time, I actually got sad about graduation.
I know I’ve said this a few times, but I really mean it now. It hit me. I finally processed the fact that I am graduating.
Up until this week, I only had my eyes on the prize. Graduation was the light at the end of the tunnel. I just wanted it to be over.
There was not a single nostalgic bone in my body. I thought solely about my future, and what my next steps should be.
Suddenly, I’m not so single-minded.
It all started at the senior meeting. It was pretty standard; administrators went over dates, protocols and paperwork that is due prior to graduation. Nothing surprising.
But, for whatever reason, that’s what did it.
I spent the hours following that meeting holding back tears, and the nostalgia has yet to shut off.
I thought about my time here, and my old friends who either graduated or dropped out. I thought about who I was as a person when I got here, and how different that person is than who I am now.
I thought about a lot of things; but honestly, I’m not even 100 percent sure what exactly I’ve been crying about.
I like the person I am now better than the person I was when I got here. I know so much more now. I’m so much more grown up.
I have an apartment, a happy relationship and a job. As far as graduates go, I’m doing pretty well.
I’m going to continue to have the few close friends I have at school. I’m not even moving out of the area.
So why am I so emotional?
Of course I’m going to miss my professors, and classes, and meal plan. But when you’re somewhere for so long, you miss a lot more than that.
I think it all comes down to the fact that change is scary. I’m comfortable here, and it’s all I’ve known as this new person I became.
I’ll tell you what: I would much prefer to be in the position I was in earlier, where I was nothing but excited and restless to graduate. It certainly feels a lot better to cling to the future rather than the past. But at least I know now that I am processing this huge change in my life.
Toni Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader newsroom.