I’ve realized that I am a strange creature. Yes, I know this is not so much of a revelation as a reminder, but hear me out. It is hitting me and hitting me hard that I become strangely attached to place. And I am not just talking about cities or towns that I’ve lived in or spent a significant amount of time in. I’m talking about the two rooms that I spent most of my undergrad years in. The first one was in one of the older buildings on campus, with community bathrooms, but I loved it. Even now, I think that room, we’ll call it 302, with fondness, and I cringe to think of what’s being done to it and the building it is in with the switch from gals’ dorm to guys’. And the room I’m in now? That I am preparing to leave within the next week, 318? I have a vague idea of the person who will be in here next and I am not happy about it.
A friend came up here two years ago, and she was attending a public university, living in their campus housing. She looked around 302 with something just short of distaste. The ceiling was messed up from water damage, the windows were clearly old with no decoration, and the paint did not look all that great either. But I had three windows. 302 sat on a hill and sometimes it was if I was a princess in a castle, surveying all that belonged to me on this campus. I loved the bookcase that was built into the wall between two of the windows. The closet with its own door and shelving. The desks and dressers that for one whole year, were mine alone.
318 was an upgrade. I have one window, but it’s huge. I have shelves above the desk that runs along an entire wall, more built-in shelves just as you come in the door, along with a little cabinet just below that. The closet is much bigger, with two shelves above where you hang your clothes and little shelves along the walls. The dresser is bigger than the ones in 302, plus I have my own bathroom here.
302 and 318 have both been places of refuge in the last three and a half years, and I’m sad to leave them. I wish that I knew the people coming in after me would love and appreciate these places like I have, but I doubt that will be the case. This is part of the college experience. Moving in and out of rooms, the continuous stream of new people and new students, it is the way of things. And part of me wishes I could stay here forever. In 302 and 318, I relish the small joy of pulling out my key and twisting it in the lock, walking into a space that was mine and mine alone. No parents, no roommates, no significant other, just me. I’ve been very lucky that for the majority of my time in college, I’ve had a room to myself. I’ve been fortunate that my parents were able to afford it. I don’t know how I feel about giving it up. And that brings me to something else.
I’m not sure if I’m ready for this change. I know it’s coming, I know I can’t stop it, but that doesn’t mean I am happy about it. The worst part is not knowing what is coming next and feeling like I am going somewhere where I’ll have little room to really figure it out. I’ll just be shoved at whatever comes along and not really have much of a say. Am I the only pending college graduate who feels this way? Surely not! I know people who, whether or not they admit it or even realize it, are terrified of graduating and going out into the real world. It’s almost a side effect of being in a school setting for so long. This is what we’re used to, this is what we know, and to take us out of it and thrust us onto the real world, I expect to stumble a lot as I find my footing.
The next six months are going to be difficult, for more than one reason. I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to it, or that I wasn’t scared. Not to mention something else that I am thinking about laying on the table for all who deign to pay attention.
Scary times, but I suppose the only choice here is to march onward, and slap a smile on your face as you walk into the lion’s den.