We meet again, Dear Reader! Long time, no talk. I hope your skies have been blue and your heart has been light.
It feels kind of funny writing a post for “Cath in College,” when in fact, I am no longer in college. That’s right–cha girl has graduated!
Some things nobody tells you about graduation and the week leading up to it:
- You won’t sleep a wink. Between the a gut-wrenching obligation to squeeze every ounce of joy out of your final hours with the people you’ve just built a life with over the four most transformative years of your life and accomplishing the logistical grad week pains–getting your cap, getting your gown, washing your car so your parents don’t see the filth you actually live in–you’ll be lucky if you can get more than 4 hours a night. No kidding.
- That sentimental last goodbye you see in the movies doesn’t exist. Maybe it does at other schools, if they orchestrate some kind of grand goodbye facilitation ceremony, but at Stanford you spend all day Sunday with your family for graduation ceremonies, then they kick you out of your dorm by 2pm on Monday. Any time you could spend saying goodbye is spent tetris-stacking cardboard boxes into caravans. Moreover…
- There’s no good time to cry. (I’m a crier. Sue me.) One day, two friends and I got back to our house right after a perfectly pleasant dinner out and laid down on the bed and I just started crying. In most circumstances, these two would have fled to me and asked me what was wrong and tried to console my heartache. But this time, it was silent. They knew why. We all knew. But nobody had the words to say it.
- Friendships get weird. You’d think at the end of these 4 years people would be riding this incredible love-high for each other, but so many friendships went on the fray in those last couple weeks. Mine and others’. Friends stopped talking, BFFs started arguing about the tiniest things… man, it was weird.
All that being said and settled, the day of Graduation itself was the happiest day of my life.
My heart soared when I looked around and saw my grandparents, who came to this country 50 some-odd years ago to build a better life for their children and grandchildren, and my friends, who have made me into the person I am today, all on the sunlit paths of my home one last time. It was fulfilling and airy and light–almost to the point of non-reality. I can’t really explain how something so visceral can also feel so distant. The entire day sort of felt like an out of body experience.
Fast forward two months…
…and I now come to you from the cushy charcoal grey couch of my new apartment in Los Angeles, California. One of my roommates is cooking pasta in the kitchen, and soft tracks from Spotify’s Country Gold playlist are lulling in the background. My feet are wrapped in a fluffy knitted throw that we splurged on at IKEA– a whole $25… fancy, fancy. We’ve got mail trays next to the fridge where we keep our gas, electricity, and internet bills. I keep my work heels separated from my running sneakers on the bottom shelf of my in-wall closet. We’ve got towels stacked in the linen closet, tomatoes, fresh berries, and Chardonnay in the fridge, and a lawn chair out on the balcony behind me.
Don’t be fooled–I am only playing adult. (But I’m having so much pretending!)
The way I see it, the chapter that Stanford captured in my life has closed. And holy cannoli, was it a chapter. I explored my passions, I dealt with peer pressure, I experienced judgment, I met the most incredible people I’ve ever known, I was depressed, I got help, I fell in love… I changed in ways freshman me didn’t even know I could change.
And despite all of that, or perhaps because of all that, I don’t feel like I’m floundering through an ocean of ambiguity now that I’ve left the Stanford campus. “Adulting” doesn’t scare me. It challenges me, and that challenge excites me.
So since my time in college has ended, so too must this college-based project of mine. Cath in College has been a transformative passion project for nearly all of my time at Stanford, and I hope that some of my experiences, reflections, and learnings can live on forever, here in this little corner of the internet. But even though my time operating the Cath in College blog and YouTube channel is coming to an end, the legacy of inspiring young life-livers to say yes to adventure, love the game of learning, and follow their wildest dreams, can live on. I’d like to pass on a piece of that very CiC mission to someone new.
Dearest readers, please meet Amanda.
Though the industry has come a long way with diversity, I intend to disrupt this more recent trend by creating roles in film and television that feature dark skinned black women as the magical multifaceted humans we are. Representation can make or break a child’s dreams and I hope to be the face that a generation of kids will look up to and think: If she can do it, so can I. My mind and notebooks are teeming with screenplays and project ideas that I hope to make a reality while in film school and in my professional career. I know achieving these goals starts with an education that the Cath in College scholarship will make more financially attainable.
Amanda will use the funds from the $1,000 Cath in College Scholarship to kickstart her journey at NYU. Please congratulate Amanda and wish her good luck at NYU by leaving a comment below!
So this is goodbye…
With that, I’ll leave you with something I wrote for a dear friend during the months leading up to graduation. It’s a passage that encompasses how I felt in those final days on The Farm, and how I feel even now–an attempt at wisdom, a result of the learnings life has given me the opportunity to gain throughout these past four unforgettable years of living:
The world that lies beyond our undergrad years here at Stanford is a world currently comprised of more questions than answers. We’re setting out into the great unknown, with nothing but the knowledge in our brains and whatever we could cram into our suitcase. And yet somehow, as gaping and as boundless as it all might seem, the minutes that comprise hours that comprise days that comprise years will soon pass, just as surely as these 22 years have passed before to get us to this moment.
I’m starting to learn that the day we “wake up” and see it all laid out in front of us will never happen, because each day is just as much a new end as a new beginning, rich of the same potential to be firey and special.
Gone are the constraints of four-year plans and the limits of majors. Soon, perhaps starting right now, each day will be an opportunity to make it all happen. To put pen to paper, words into action, love into art. To take up our heart swords and begin the endless battle that is fighting the good fight.
The world is a canvas. I feel blessed to paint it with you.
I feel blessed to paint it with you, Dear Reader. Thank you.