It’s not U(B), it’s me

I am freaking out, y’all.

I have 15 days left of college and I am

freaking

out

y’all.

People have been asking me about my final college days since “distance learning” started, and I always said the same thing: I hate UB, I’m glad classes are online. While that was –– and remains to be –– true, there’s been this overwhelming stress looming over me lately. (A slightly different stress than your average, everyday stress.) But it’s not because we’re in quarantine or I’m not going to school or I can’t find a full-time job because over 26 million Americans are unemployed right now, and more are losing jobs every day.

What has really been stressing me out is the number one fear of my Gen-Z cohorts:

FOMO.

The fear of missing out has plagued graduating seniors across the nation. But I’m not afraid of missing out on walking across the commencement stage, or never sitting in a classroom again. I’m afraid that my entire college experience wasn’t as fulfilling as it should have been, and now it’s ending with less of a (bang!) and more of a (bleh…). I’m mostly afraid that I don’t really seem to care.

I have more work to do in the next 15 days than I’ve had in the last 15 weeks, and then I’m just done. I’ll finish my projects (in sweatpants at home), I’ll write my goodbye column (also in sweatpants at home) and I’ll move on to the next chapter of my life like the last four years never happened.

Which is like, super weird, right?

Shouldn’t I care about all of the work I’ve done? All the people I’ve met? The things I’ve learned about myself?

I’ve worried because I keep going back and forth; I care about my accomplishments, but don’t care about college. And I’m starting to think graduating feels less like growing up, and more like breaking up.

I’m sad that I might’ve made a mistake in coming to UB; I left my first true love (Naz) for someone (UB) I never knew. And I’m angry because my UB experience sucked. It dealt me a hand of depression, dissociation, and disrespect that I would never tolerate in a relationship with a person.

But without getting pushed to the edges of my capabilities –– and my mental and physical strength –– I wouldn’t be the (completely damaged and entirely exhausted) person I am today. “It built character,” as people love to say about bad experiences.

Over the last four years I’ve made lifelong friends and had experiences I’ll never forget. I learned about myself and grew closer to the person I want to be. I’ve learned to endure the bad times because the good times almost make them worth it.

And, as the kids are saying, it just be like that sometimes. When you break up with someone it doesn’t mean you didn’t have a good time, it doesn’t negate all of your experiences, or erase the people you’ve met along the way. It just means that you’ve grown and you’re ready to move on without that person (for better or for worse).

So yes, college and I are breaking up. We had a lot of good times, and we’ve made a lot of memories. But it’s time for me to move on with my life. And it’s a little sad, sure, but I’ve grown out of our four-year relationship.

It’s all I’ve ever known, but I’m certain that what’s coming next is way better than what I’m leaving behind.

With love and without looking back,

Jacklyn

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