The last weeks before the graduation day were incredibly hectic. As I was trying to finish my thesis, I got increasingly disconnected from the rest of the world. I was painfully busy, tired, nervous, anxious, and stressed. Friends and family were offering moral support, reminding me I just needed to endure a tiny bit more. ‘Just one more week,’ they would say, ‘one more week and you’ll be done.’
During the course of our lives, we commit ourselves to complete a series of projects. Some small and some bigger: finishing a 5K run, building a machine, or studying a program. And it’s a common belief that completing the longest, most arduous projects should feel like a huge relief, as if a colossal weight that you’ve been carrying for so long is finally being lifted off your shoulders.
So when I was handed that Master diploma with my name on it, I was naturally expecting a feeling of alleviation to take over. But there was none. I started signing the diploma still waiting for the internal sigh, the Grand “It’s done” moment. Nothing. If such a feeling will ever arrive… I’m still waiting.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m not happy about graduating. I have a strong sense of pride and satisfaction. I’m starting to connect with the world around me again and slowly coming to all my senses. There’s just simply not an “It’s done” feeling.
I’ve started to structure my thoughts around that puzzling lack of a sense of completion. I think I’m failing to see graduation as an ‘end’ because that project of studying a Master degree was never about crossing the finish line. I was simply taking pleasure in the running. Now, the inertia it’s just too strong. I can’t seem to stop myself from running.
But I understand things around me will change, I’m not delusional. That particular setting in which I got to frequently meet the friends I’ve made throughout the program, the discussions in class, the brilliance and passion of each professor, the partying on campus, these are all things I will miss. So there’s some nostalgia building up inside of me for sure.
Yet, as I reflected with a former classmate and close friend, the experiences and knowledge that we’ve acquired from the studies have had so much impact on us that this ‘ending’ ceremony of graduation cannot just bury them in the past or make them fade into obscurity. We will unavoidably carry those experiences with us wherever we go. They will shape ourselves and they will shape our future.
So why would we conceive graduation as the ending of a two-year journey? It would be perhaps more appropriate to consider this journey as just the beginning of an exhilarating career. And from my side, I cannot help but dream about the adventures and projects that lay ahead of me.
I honestly can’t wait, because I’m so not done.