“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” –Andy Dwyer, The Office
As my college career is wrapping up, I am finally beginning to finally realize how lucky I am to study at the University of California, Berkeley and spending some of the best four years of my life with my closest friends.
From talks with leading scholars to classes with professors that I wish I could take next semester, from to school spirit activities to sports games that I have the last chance of attending as a student, and to late nights talks that turn into brunches to realizing that this might be the last time all of my best friends live within a fifteen minute walk from my home… I am realizing that these days may have in fact been the “good old days.” These are the days that I worked so tirelessly towards when I was in high school, these are the days that I dreamed about living when I grew up. And now, just as quick as they started, they are ending… and I feel as though I did not fully live through them.
Don’t get me wrong- of course I felt school pride as I marched with the Cal Band when I was a freshman, or studied extra hard to impress a professor’s whose work led to a Nobel Prize, or enjoyed laughing while watching The Princess Diaries with my sorority sisters on a Friday night. At the moment, I did embrace these experiences.
But now, everything feels different. These events are memories and I deeply desire to revisit them but I cannot. I feel like I am so desperately clinging to these last few weeks that I have in this magical moment in my life and I am doing everything in my power to slow things down and appreciate what I have until it is gone. I am desperately trying to relive these moments one last time.. but in a tiny fraction of the time I have left.
Between spreading myself thin between my 18 units of classes per week, I have stretched my time to encompass every activity and academic pursuit that I failed to fully take advantage of during my last three years at Cal- nearly making up for the summers I spent at home or the semester I went abroad. I have become even more compelled to attend every lecture, to take that extra research position unrelated to my thesis, to play in that optional wind ensemble, and to RSVP “yes” to nearly every Facebook event sent my way.
And what has this led me to? Exhaustion. Emotional and physical exhaustion. And it took me until today to realize that maybe all of this “fear of missing out” is actually making me miss out on some new adventures that will serve me better and create a new era of golden days in my life.
Yes, college is a great time- a spectacular time. It is possibly going to be the best four years of my life. And, really, I am so blessed to have had the college experience that I have had. But in squeezing every last “college” event in before I graduate, I am failing to truly enjoy the last few weeks I have in this beautiful little bubble that is college. I am holding onto my past and refusing to let the future come. But you know what? The future is inevitable- I am going to graduate. And once I accept that and accept the short time I have left the “good old days,”
There is still so much more to come in my life- so much that I have not discovered or experienced. And in order to see these new things, I have to let go of the past, live in the present, and enjoy what the future has to bring me. Really, it’s an incredibly difficult task for a nostalgic individual such as myself. But we all grow older and we all mature into new and better stages in our lives.
Of course I will continue to enjoy my last few weeks with the best college activities possible and share stories about our past four years together with my friends. But I am not going to do it out of sadness or hear a memory that I did not participate in and try to recreate that opportunity. I will laugh along with my friends, and tell a memory that is close to my heart- that is representative of my own personal “golden days.” And I will be hopeful of the new horizon to come.