Welcome back everyone, the spring semester has arrived! I hope you all had a restful winter break and got to spend time with the people you care about. I did get to spend some time with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, as well as seeing bits of my family in Massachusetts.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the people I care for, and I think this all really hit me around my birthday. I turned 23 and I don’t feel much older, but this past year went by so fast. I feel older in the sense that my body is cracking more than it used to, but I don’t think that is a sign of getting older. In the past, my birthday was always acknowledged and celebrated, but not like this year. I had friends remember, and not just because of a Facebook reminder. Friends that planned things with me and made a point to make me feel cared for. All the important people in my life made sure they were able to spend a piece of time with me throughout the week. It made it feel like a birthday week more than just a day. Some of this was an in-depth phone call full of sweet memories of the past. Others celebrat- ed with me with cake and presents, or a nice meal shared. I had a handmade gift from my friend Emma who made me a crochet shrimp! Another notable moment was after my last class of the day on my birthday, my friend Annika and I went on the hunt for mica, a type of mineral. We went on a trail behind USM’s Gorham campus, even dipping our hands in the freezing cold water to find small bits of rock. We are still un- sure if any of it was actually mica, but it was so fun I don’t know if it matters at this point.
This is also the beginning of the end for me. I had my last first day of undergraduate school. To quote my niece, Amber, who is graduating high school this year, “This is one of the most important times in my life and it’s all happening so fast, I can’t be- lieve where the last four years went.” It was nice to have us both stop and realize we are at the same point, but a different timeline. I have plenty of friends who are feeling a similar way but it does feel like something special to have my niece in the same boat. Her and I have always been able to relate to one another but she seems to feel put at ease to have someone close who is feeling the same ache.
I’m already starting to make plans for after graduation, and I find it hard to not start planning my whole life away. I’m worried about overworking myself like I did last year. I need to re- member to live in the moment, when I make too many plans I have less of an opportunity to be spontaneous. I find that I fight this fine line of wanting to do and see everything I can, versus letting things happen naturally. I am always so thankful for the amazing opportunities I get, but I need to find time for myself. In the spirit of hav- ing time for myself, I have officially decided to not go to grad school im- mediately after undergraduate. I have been in school for so long, since the earliest memory I have was in school. I’m ready to live some life that is not having my worth feel like it’s tethered to a grade in a school culture designed for neurotypical people.
I’m glad to still have this excitement for this semester, even if it is mixed with a nauseous feeling of it all being over far too soon