Graduation day — the day we all look forward to our whole lives. After all, it’s the time we finally receive our “golden ticket” that gets us into the workforce. I should be jumping for joy — no more exams, all-nighters and endless pages of reading to do that make me want to gouge my eyes out. I’m about to graduate from one of the most amazing universities in the world. I mean, I should be happy, right? The truth is, I’ve never been more scared in my life.
But before I get into all of that, I want to rewind back to the day that I got accepted as a transfer student from Grand Valley State University. I was on vacation in Florida with my friend Alex in March 2010 when my Mom called me. When I saw her name pop up on my caller ID, I was positive she was calling just to fulfill her parental duty and make sure I was doing all right. But when I answered, she said something that caught me off guard. “Hello, Miss Wolverine,” she said. I thought she was getting me confused with my sister for a second — she also went to school here. Once I realized she really did mean to call me, I went screaming and running around like I had just won the lottery. I remember thinking it was the best day of my life. And in hindsight, it still kind of is.
Being a transfer student as a sophomore was tough, though. Everyone had already made their friends as freshman, and I felt like a fish out of water. I joined club volleyball, WOLV-TV and the Lebanese Student Association. I quickly made friends, and I started to feel a little more integrated into University life.
However, I wasn’t the typical college student — and with only a week left, I don’t think I ever will be. I didn’t go to my graduation ceremony for any of my departments or walk in May with my class. I wasn’t a big partier, I hated going to football games and I went home a lot to see my family. I consistently complained about classes being stressful and always said things like, “Ugh, I’m so over school.” But now that that time is here and it actually is going to be over, I feel entirely different.
To be frank, all I want to do is bundle up in my bed with Edy’s Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream while clicking through past Facebook photos of my college journey and bawl my eyes out. I can’t help but be upset that I’ll no longer be a Michigan student anymore and that Ann Arbor will no longer be my home.
For the first time in my life, I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a job lined up or any real agenda when it comes to the next few months. The non-structured life that I’m about to enter scares me more than the creepy little girl from “The Ring.”
Despite feeling all of that though, I’ll refrain from acting like the world is coming to an end. Instead, I’ll pick my head up and reminisce with elation that I was blessed to be a Michigan Wolverine. For I’m thankful for the wonderful friendships that were formed, the beautiful memories that were made, the knowledge my professors provided me and for the person my University experience made me become.
I will miss Ann Arbor every day — it will always be one of my favorite cities on the planet. At the end of the day, it was essentially what raised me. I came here as a girl, and I’m leaving as a woman. I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t know what life has in store for me and I’m starting to come to the realization that that’s OK.
It’s true, what they say — you never really know what you’ve got until its gone. I’m not ready to say goodbye, but I don’t think I ever truly will be. It’s time to close this chapter of my life with no regrets, and smile about the fact that, no matter what I’ll always be a Michigan Wolverine. I will end my final piece with a quote I have engraved on my bracelet that I wear every day, “ Wherever you go, go with all of your heart — and forever go blue.”
Sara Shouhayib can be reached at email@example.com.