The End (Or, the Beginning of the Rest of My Life)

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. — A.A. Milne

Have you ever asked yourself why you love something?

One of my friends asked me this the other day and I didn’t really know how to answer.

“Er…it’s really complicated, how do I even begin to explain?”

But really?

As I prepare to graduate today, I can’t help but ask myself all the reasons I love Morris. It’s a common string of words for me to say these days. I’ve said it plenty of times here on the blog. “I love this place so much. I’m going to miss it.”

But why? Why do I love this place so much? What is that it I’m going to miss?

Sure, it’s a beautiful place. As a prospective student, I fell in love with this campus because of its beauty. I love the architecture, the landscaping, the fact that I can leave my room at 10:28 and get to my 10:30 class on time. It’s small, it’s homey, it’s beautiful.

But there is more to this love I have for Morris than the way it looks.

Later today, when I sit with my classmates–my best friends by my side–listening to the commencement speeches, preparing to walk across the stage, I’ll be so aware of how this place has shaped me. How I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Morris and all the people who make this place such a beautifully unique place. After all, it really is the people who make this place so special. The friends and the faculty who have made my life so much more enriching.

As I prepare to graduate today, I am aware that I will probably never be so profoundly shaped by such a specific and unique environment again. Never again will I have so many supporters in one place, cheering me on, wishing only success in my future. Sure, I’ll go out into the “real world” and hopefully accomplish great things. I’d like to go the graduate school one day, I hope to find a job environment where I feel supported and fulfilled…but those experiences will never garner the types of relationships and support systems that are possible as a college student in an undergraduate setting.

I’ll have two degree when I leave this place, sure. I went to college to get these two degrees, after all–a Bachelor of Arts in History, a Bachelor of Arts in English. with Honors. Because I didn’t graduate with honors in high school so I was bound and determined to graduate with honors in college. I’ll have two degrees and I’ll have the diploma to prove it. But one flimsy piece of paper certainly does not define the experiences I’ve had here. How much I’ve grown and learned about myself. The sense of dignity I have towards myself that I didn’t have when I first arrived in the Fall of 2011. I’ve met people who have fundamentally changed my life: advisers who have had faith in me since day one, friends who will never lose faith in me as long as we live.

When I cross that stage later today and accept my diploma, I know I wont just be leaving here as a college graduate. I will be leaving here as a better person, a more mature, stronger individual than I was when I got here.

In this day and age, the college experience has been criticized by many. With tuition rates in the United States rising every year, more and more people find themselves asking: what’s the purpose of a degree unless it directly relates to the career path you want to take? Or, in my case, why go to college and major in history and English if you don’t even want to teach either subject anyways?

Why go to college at all?

My answer is my own–it may not be the best one out there, but it’s the best I can do–College is as much about the experience as it is about the degree. I, for one, couldn’t have survived being thrown out into the real world without this experience. I learned so much in the classroom, and for that I am grateful. I’ve had some of the best professors I could have ever imagined here at Morris. But, I’ve also learned so much outside of the classroom. My college experience wasn’t always easy. I’ve experienced some of my most trying moments here at Morris…but I’ve learned, I’ve grown. I am not the same person I was when I got here.

And for that, I am forever grateful.

This is why I love Morris. Why I will forever miss it when I leave as an alum.

— — — —

Here’s to the class of 2015 and my soon-to-be alma mater.

I couldn’t have done it without ya.

Edit river
One of the University wind turbines sitting idyllic above the Pomme de Terre River… A favorite Morris view
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32 thoughts on “The End (Or, the Beginning of the Rest of My Life)

  1. Congratulations! I hope you post pictures later today. Post a picture of your diploma, too! I’m curious to see what a double major diploma looks like. I’m glad you had an unforgettable experience.

    I support a college education, and I think anyone who wants it should have it. However, the increasing tuition rates are disgusting. It’s cheaper to buy a house than to pay for college. There’s something incredibly fucked up with our nation when colleges are seen as sources of profit rather than places where our future leaders are being educated. I know that the education in Finland (including post-graduate school) is free. Yes, I know. It’s shocking that a nation actually cares about the education of its citizens. College tuitions in CT increased by 4.8 percent. As if we didn’t already pay enough.

    Sorry, I’m just really passionate about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I don’t have my actual diploma yet. We got the the diploma holder at graduation, but the diploma itself will be sent to us after grades are submitted. It was an absolutely beautiful day, though, and I’m planning on putting some pictures up soon. It’s been a crazy couple of days!

      Yeah, it’s a shame about tuition rates and such. I have a friend who is living in Denmark right now and she was telling me how students there are practically paid to go to college. I just can’t even imagine that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The US is backwards in so many ways. Colleges operate more like businesses than…well, colleges. It’s cheaper to buy a house…
        Obama wants everyone to have a college education. Well, Obama didn’t think that some people simple can’t afford college. Sure, there are scholarships and loans and financial aid, but they sure don’t help enough or else students wouldn’t accumulate debts of roughly $30,000 after graduation.

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  2. I love everything about this post, Britta. Even though we had very different college experiences, so much of what you say rings SO TRUE. I’m excited to see where you go with your degrees and look forward to keeping in contact via the blogosphere! Congrats!! 🙂

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    1. Congrats to you too, Amelia! I left Morris today and it was absolutely bittersweet driving away. I’ll miss it so much but I know it’s time to move on.
      Looking forward to seeing where you go too! Glad we have the blogosphere to keep in touch. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, two degrees!!! Congratulations!!! The day has finally come. Time flew by so fast eh? You were just blogging about finishing up your paper and now, you got your toga and diploma to boot! I am glad you had good memories (some bad but hey, who doesn’t?) of your college years and that you made the most of it. Life outside school is different and for the first few months you will find yourself wishing you were back in school. 🙂 So, what are your plans after?

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    1. It was an absolutely perfect day (and we got so lucky too…commencement was outside on Saturday and soon after the ceremony was over, the sky started to get cloudy–and it’s been raining since then). I certainly have such wonderful memories and will forever cherish my college years. It’s time to move on, though. I know it will be different, but I’m ready and I’m excited.
      I actually have something really exciting to share one of these days. I’m planning to announce the next step in a blog post, so stay tuned. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dearest Britta!
    Congratulations on your graduation!
    We’ve been following your senior year journey via your blog and now it all comes to this moment…There are millions of emotions, thoughts and ideas running through your mind right now, I’m sure, because that’s how I felt upon graduating college…
    I wish you all the happiness in the world upon taking this new step in your life!
    Sincerest wishes,
    *Lia

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    1. Thank you so much, Lia! I will have some pictures up soon of the big day. I’m so glad I got to share my senior year with all of my new friends in the blogosphere…and I can’t wait to share with you were I go next. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so proud of you and very excited to watch you take the world by storm. To new beginnings!

    PS – With honors! Very impressive.
    PSS – It was great to see your ‘post-graduation’ photo on instagram! Made my day.

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  6. And congratulations again! With honors! Wow. Impressive!
    Very beautiful and heartfelt words, Britta. I felt how deeply this experience affected and changed you.
    Be very proud of yourself. It took two to make it happen and you did your part with excellence!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lucile! Your kind words are so meaningful.
      My college experience was most certainly was life changing…one I will never forget and one I am so thankful to have.

      Like

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