Goodbye to All That, and Hello
Well, it’s official. I am a full-fledged member of the real world. Maybe it’s too soon to make the call, but five days post-cap-and-gown, not much seems different. Classes are over. Homework is done. Iowa City is emptying. There’s an abandoned bed in the dumpster of my apartment and an outside trash-bag radius that is exponentially expanding further and further outward. My roommates have gone home for the summer, and there’s all the room in the world for my food in the refrigerator now. I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix. It could be just any other summer. But part of me knows I’m in denial, or at least avoidance. The summer I’m imagining is the same sunny stretch I always think of, the slow heat, lightning bugs, thunderstorms; the idealized summer I will never let go of, no matter how old I get. But I don’t let my mind cross into fall, when my best friend and three-year roommate will be a Yale grad student rather than a Hawkeye. When the majority of amazing people I’ve met, gotten to know, and love dearly will not be returning for another year of Iowa City frolics. When there will be no new classes, no book lists, no need to buy new pens. When I will no longer be the Iowa Review intern.
Dang it. Now I’m thinking about it, and it’s making me weepy. This month has been a month of accomplishments and congratulations, but there’s no way around the fact that it is a month of endings. Nostalgia is as inevitable as applause.
At the graduation ceremony, our class speaker, John Komdat, talked about how graduation is a time when the past and the future meet at one moment, the present. I was enthralled with this idea because after spending the school year writing a thesis about time travel, my ears perk up at any mention of time; but the more I thought about what he said, the more I realized how creepily accurate it was in relation to my life. The day before graduation, John and I had been sat together in the "K" row for the Honors Commendation Ceremony and had our first extended conversation, even though I knew him from freshman year when we were both living on the Writing Floor in Stanley. There had been some head nods and half-waves during our four years, but talking to him and