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thought i was a donut, ya tried to glaze me


I graduated college yesterday.

At the end of the ceremony confetti shot out of cannons and fireworks sound effects came out of the speakers and I couldn't help but feel like I, too, was exploding and scattering all around the Great Lawn, floating in the sky and landing wherever. Where am I going? Why do I feel unfinished?

Four years behind me and I still talk about high school with immense nostalgia; am I really ready to be a college graduate?

I guess I have to be. Allow me to reflect.

When I started at St. John's as a 17 year old I didn't know what I was getting in to. My first year was a lot harder than I thought--I overestimated my ability to adapt to new-ish surroundings (I was still in Queens, after all) and really expected my college experience to somehow find me as I played Snood for hours or took long naps in my top bunk. It took me a while to realize that there was a lot available to me, if only I'd get off my ass to find it. I moved out of Donovan Hall feeling happier than I wanted; I didn't want to admit defeat, or weakness, but there was no denying that my first year at St. John's really sucked. And that pizza as a side dish at dinner would catch up to me.

Luckily things got better with time. Sophomore year I moved into Carey Hall and had a huge suite with a great roomate and great suitemates. I had balance, a crew, a set dinner time every night halfway through the 5 o'clock Gilmore Girls. Things were good, I became more involved with the station, started doing what I came to college to do, and all was right in my life. Then in April I received what I thought at the time was the worst news I could hear--there was no room for me the next year in the dorms. I sunk into a deep dark spiral of despair. What was I supposed to do...live at home? COMMUTE? I felt beaten again, screwed over by SJU. But thankfully I spent a weekend at home after getting that letter and had a nice long talk with my mom over Spumoni Gardens and she reminded me that 1) this was not the end of the world and 2) this was not the end of the world. And Erica (who also didn't receive housing) and I had a long conversation over AIM where we realized that life was better in it's uncertainty. Like true young people we felt invigerated by the challenge, by the change, and since then I haven't been so afraid of it.

That summer I finally bit the bullet and learned how to drive; I passed my road test all thanks to Carmen, my amazing driving instructor who broke parallel parking down into simple steps and engaged me in conversation as we drove around Far Rockaway. I got a sweet car and starting loving my time in it every morning and night, allowing my commute to become a time of reflection and regrouping. I took a creative writing class that semester--probably my most important class because it got me back into what I love to do the most and allowed me to develop some lasting relationships. If it wasn't for that class I wouldn't have gotten a job at the Writing Center, which was such a huge part of my Senior Year (but I'll get to that). May of '06 I stepped on an Al Italia flight all alone, my destination Rome and a month of studying abroad. I've written enough about what those 30 days have meant to me so I don't need to go on. But you get the idea.

I spent the first semester of my Senior Year working and wasting all my time in the amazing place that is the WC. I helped people--which really is a great feeling--and hung out with great people and found, like I did with the radio station, a homebase on a campus that can be big and lonely. That October I applied to my full-time, 5-day-a-week internship on a whim and by the end of the month I found out that I got it; and there went life changing on me again. But I wasn't scared anymore, remember?

Since January I've had this amazing experience and I've grown up a lot and made some connections and really reaffirmed what I always thought I wanted to do with my life. And then yesterday I waved from the stage and threw my cap up into the sky and became a graduate of St. John's University. I say it went so fast, I say I sometimes feel like I'm still in high school, but really, when I stop to think about it, it's been a long and fulfilling four years. Maybe I don't feel so much like the confetti that scattered on the white chairs and green grass and graduates; maybe I'm not giving myself and those in my life enough credit for how grounded and secure I really am. St. John's has given me alot, and for a school many consider to be the easy road or a given or just merely convenient, it's been a wild ride. So thanks.

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I wonder if my writing has even improved?