Why is it that we normalize things. You don't realize the weight of what's happening to you until you're removed and become a third party witness. Nostalgia is one of the most painful things I have encountered through my transitions this year. It catches you off guard and makes you all frustrated that real life events are now just 'the good ol' days." I really do feel like it takes time to almost heal from it in a sense? I don't want to say starting a new piece of life is a loss because obviously it's a huge gain, but I also think it is totally normal for our psyche to confuse the two. 'Cause right now I'll tell you it feels like I left my arm or foot or something vital in Texas. I also think it's part of growing into your new role as an active contributor to society; where you know you've got serious purpose and mad professional skills (the beginnings of them, anyway) yet still feel like you're in an in-between phase of college and young adulthood and 'real' adulthood when you have a family or buy a house or something. But before I get way too ahead of myself....the basic premise is this: Recently it hit me that my time at A&M and as 'a college kid' was over. And it'll be over for the kids my brother's age soon. And then I'll really feel removed. It's neither good nor bad, but it's new.
Do I miss Aggieland, Texas? There are no words.
Thanks a ton A&M for giving me such an indescribable three and a half years, now I can't move on from you!
Simple part time jobs at the bookstore and box office, walking to class in the drenching humidity, seeing things like Kyle Field and the Academic Building dome and thinking nothing of it. I guarantee the next time I see these things, I'll probably cry. No shame. The [constant] atmosphere of knowing you need to study but thinking of nothing but better things to do. The feeling of College Station in the summer when campus and the streets are dead, the way the air feels in the fall when there is finally relief from 110 degree sunny days. Getting ready for Northgate. Hunting down the free coffee samples across town, sitting at "the usual" table in the random select buildings you grow close to just from walking through campus. Sometimes I'll catch a hint of the music I listened a to while studying those countless hours freshman year and I get floored by nostalgia. And that was study music! What is the deal?!? I instantly am brought back to the white walls and always dirty (engineering kids weren't renowned for being the most clean. We had calculators and the laws of gravity to worry about) tables I would sit at between classes. Then, just when you think college will never end, it does. You turn your ring around, you say "see you later" to Texas A&M and hello to the world.
I went to China, had an internship in Memphis, had like 10 different beautiful roommates, found love and lost it, found and lost and found myself, took many tests and stressed over lots of deadlines, went to every football game and yelled my heart out, pet Reveille, clocked probably over 12,000 miles on the bus, was late to class because of the bus, chased the bus, waited for the bus (I'm seeing a trend here...), stayed on campus passed sunset, and took naps in Rudder. I figured out how to not buy the textbook, how to go to HEB either really late at night or bright and early, and when to not take Texas Avenue. I ran a half marathon around College Station with my best friend, and went nuts with the rest of College Station when a Heisman was named in our midst. I took naps at 9PM on Fridays so I would be ready to participate in Midnight Yell, and I kissed a corps guy on the field when the lights shut off. I swayed with my fellow classmates as we sang the war hymn, stood as the 12th Man, and was proud even when we were outscored. I got chills while walking through the MSC and Flag Room, and whispered "here" at Aggie Muster and the Bonfire Memorial. I saw my great-grandfather in the yearbook, military uniform and all, and listened to my mother's stories of the same halls I walked through every day. I learned respect for my country and for the men and women making sacrifices for it. I welded, programmed, totally guessed my way through engineering labs, and read thousands of words over and over trying to dedicate them to memory so that I could forget them right when I turned in my Scranton.
But all of those things I thought I was forgetting as I walked out the door and felt that wave of relief that only comes from the end of a big test, I actually wasn't. Everything I learned and worked for has paid off. And every single day I thank God for those memories and facts and friends and bonds and pangs of nostalgia that I always hate but then love. Because the overwhelming reality is that it happened, and it happens over again each time I look at my Aggie ring and count my blessings that I had not just an incredible college experience, but an incredible college family. I can't turn back time, but I'll always be a former student and a part of the Aggie family. There are moments when all of it feels like a daze. Did it even happen, did I really already graduate? All of these things we look forward to so much...we rush away the days we'll always want to remember most.
I've done a lot of traveling this year for my job and also visiting friends. Every, single, time I've been in an airport I have seen the glint of gold. And I say, howdy. In Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles. Instantly there's a friend. From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can't explain it.
It runs in your veins and it runs through your heart. Now that I've done high school to college, college to the real world, I can say that the transition from college is way underrated. The high school to college transition is severely overrated. My advice is...I actually have none to make it easier. A day at a time, and living in the moment is the best way to make sure to enjoy every second of life we have. Each moment is fleeting and will pass, and that is both good and bad.