My finals are done. My graduation project is done. Everything is handed in, and my immediate future has been left to the sole discretion of the powers that be (my professors).
An enormous weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, and believe me, the feeling was almost physical.
At least until I go to graduate school, if I decide to do that, there are no more papers, no more assigned readings and no more exams.
For the first time since I was 4 years old, I will not have school. It’s almost like a summer that lasts forever (except add on a full-time job, I suppose, and some snow later in the year).
Of course I’m excited that I’m significantly more free than I was before, and that there are a lot of things I no longer have to worry about, but mostly, I am euphoric with pride.
I never thought I would be able to do this. Leading up to my freshman year, I spent every day finding excuses not to go to college. But I did it.
I struggled with a major I didn’t enjoy my freshman year, but I found where I belonged without getting behind.
I thought I would fade away my senior year after all of my friends either dropped out or graduated, but I found new friends and kept old ones.
I almost didn’t think I would make it a few times, but I did.
There were a lot of failures, but I was able to rise above them and improve myself, and continue to do so.
Even though school caused me a lot of stress, I haven’t lost my love for learning. That is a tremendous feat in itself.
What seemed to be something so distant and almost unreal is becoming a reality. And I am so happy.
Soon, I will move into a new apartment and start a new life as my full, adult self, and it could not possibly be more refreshing.
I’m not afraid, and I’m not holding on to the past. I’m overwhelmingly ready for my next chapter.
I have a mile-long reading list (it’s hard to read everything you want to when you have so many assigned readings); I have about a thousand recipes to try; and I have a Pinterest board of decor inspiration.
Every day, I am thankful, and I hope I never lose that.
Toni Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader newsroom.