I still remember coming home after my final day of primary school, sitting on the floor of my room and crying. I was going to miss my friends and my teachers, I didn’t want to grow up and I had an empty pit in my stomach. And I remember the final days of secondary school. That same pit there every time someone signed my leavers book or uniform, reminding me of how once again I’m leaving behind all that I am accustomed to, all the familiarity.
I moved on to college and then university. At each step I’d make new friends and, bar a few, leave my old ones behind. At each step there would be people who got me better than my previous friends and I was welcomed into a new place that allowed me to be more myself than before. Because at each step I knew more about what ‘being me’ is.
Graduating from university was such an emotional time. I had done it. This was the final one. The final step I had before I reached the landing of options, full of doors I could enter. Some would be locked, others slightly jammed but accessible with a hard push. But it would be up to me which door I tried to open and which I walked into.
Yesterday I delivered a presentation in my university’s open day about student life. Watching these eager faced students planning where they take their final step was weird. I wondered if they knew what was to come, how quickly the next few years would go by and how they would soon realise they too had reached the top of the stairs.
I wonder if I would have done things differently, chosen a different step, if I could. I probably would – I did not do as well in my A Levels as I would have liked and my choice in college definitely played a part in this. But in truth that would have probably resulted in me being in the same place that I am now. My grades did not stop me from getting on the course that I wanted to at the university I wanted to do it in. And I would not have had some of the life experiences I have, had I not ventured out – for better or worse. Perhaps the steps I have taken so far have not been too bad. I just hope I can say the same thing when I look back in a few years, having opened and even entered a few doors.
As a child I assumed that when I reached adulthood, I would have grown-up thoughts. – David Sedaris