As a freshman, I looked at the four years ahead of me. At the time, they seemed like an eternity, and I wondered what that time might bring. Then my years left at Michigan turned into months with cunning speed, and now in just five short weeks I’ll be graduating.
After last-ditch efforts to “forget” to sign up for classes I need to graduate failed, I face an almost certain catapult into the real world incredibly soon. But I decided that’s tolerable, because I devised foolproof ways to never really give up college:
I’ll never stop learning. As the resident geek who counted down the days to the first day of school each September, I know I’ll continue my education after college, even if I don’t return to a formal college setting. Trading in my talented professors for Rosetta Stone may be a bit of a letdown at first, but deciding to learn to code without having to factor in the impending doom of a failing grade bringing down my GPA will allow me to explore more than just what’s comfortable and known.
I’ll never stop cheering on the Wolverines. After a controversial Big Ten expansion last year, I silently hid my excitement while others around me grumbled. Yeah, Maryland may be another imposter “U-M” we now have to deal with, but fortunately, College Park is located just a few metro stops away from the District of Columbia. You’ll find me singing The Victors in Byrd Stadium this October as Harbaugh gets yet another ‘W’ under his belt.
I’ll never stop making a few poor decisions each week. Laundry can still wait until the dirty clothes pile becomes a mountain with a mind of its own. Going to happy hour instead of the gym will seamlessly replace the “Skeeps over studying” lifestyle pattern. Scrolling through my Twitter and Facebook feeds will forever remain my preferred procrastination technique.
I’ll never stop feeling awkward as I attempt to dodge people passing out flyers. A recent estimate calculated 80 percent of a student’s time at Michigan is spent avoiding those passing out flyers in the Diag (joking). It’s now second nature for me to slip by the people at the grocery store handing out coupons, and if I substitute Central Campus for a busy intersection in Washington D.C., I’ll realize just how transferable this skill is when I get approached to sign a petition while heading to work.
I’ll never stop walking everywhere. The one-mile commute I became accustomed to while living four blocks down Washtenaw was rough at first, but it ended up being a great way to get outside and enjoy fresh air before being cooped up in a classroom for hours. After working 9 to 5 each day, I’m sure I’ll look forward to walking home rather than riding in a packed metro car.
I’ll never stop being overcommitted. While I might not have Festifall as an option to discover new organizations and causes, finding an outlet to give back will remain important to me. When my coworkers ask me to join their dodgeball team, my name will be on the sign-up sheet even though I’m fairly awful at sports involving a baseball diamond.
I’ll never stop watching a surprising amount of television shows. Some people love music. Some people love sports. I love Netflix.
I’ll never stop taking pictures of the frothy designs on the top of my lattes when I go to coffee shops, then immediately feel the barista’s judgmental glare and pretend like I’m just using the calculator on my phone. If they didn’t want it photographed, they shouldn’t have made such a perfect little fern out of milk.
I’ll never stop consulting my friends when making every life decision, from what to wear to dinner to how to reply to an e-mail. My best friends will be the ones I talk to when one of us is having another quarter-life crisis. They’ll be the ones I send pictures to when I see something that makes me think of Michigan. They’ll be the ones who remind me that even though our time here is over, the things that made the last four years so great don’t really end when we leave Ann Arbor. Whenever I’m reunited with them I’ll be back at school, because it’s not the physical place that is making Michigan so difficult to leave (although I will miss you dearly, Zingerman’s). It’s the people.
I’ll never have to say goodbye to my college friends, because I don’t have college friends anymore. I have confidants and mentors, secret-keepers and partners in crime. We share inside jokes and memories that will remain long after we leave this city.
So it’s not “goodbye” I’ll be saying as we walk out of the Big House on May 2. It’s “see you soon.” And I’ll keep convincing myself of this in order to make it through the next five weeks.
Katie Koziara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org