emotions on emotions on emotions (aka senior year).

I’ve been home almost 7 days and haven’t unpacked a single box.
It sits in the exact same spot I (literally) threw it all in after moving home.

 (Shows you how important everything in my dorm room was, huh?)

I have just been plain exhausted. I’ve barely had energy to get out of bed, let alone actually do stuff.  I’ve barely recovered from move out and the subsequent emotional breakdown last Friday. I didn’t get out of bed today til noon. (I had a migraine, but still). That’ll do me well when I head back to work next week. Weee.

My anxiety has been amped up about 100 notches since returning home. I think it’s a combination of not having therapy and the fact that being home just stresses me out.  Not to mention all my pent up feelings about this year and how much that has affected me since coming home.

Senior year, in a word, was hell.  It was absolutely miserable, and I wish I could erase it and start all over.

There were good things, of course. I loved my classes (mostly); I loved my middle school practicum (high school, not so much). Cozumel was great (and I just realized I never wrote about it this year… whoops). Had lots of fun moments and events with friends.

But overall, I hated this year.

What a way to end my college career, huh? But alas, it’s not over, thanks to changing my major I’m here another semester. That’s part of the reason this year sucked, honestly.

Beyond all the struggles I had this year with my anxiety, school stress, and other nameless drama, the hardest thing was knowing I wasn’t going to graduate with my class.  I didn’t realize how much this was going to hurt me until it happened.

It’s my fault, of course. I was the dumbass that changed her major junior freaking year of college. I knew from the get go I was going to graduate a semester late. I was sad about it at first, but mostly thankful Dr. S had figured my schedule out so I would only be a semester late (bless her for thinking ahead). This was the hand I was dealt when changing majors. I did it to myself, so I had to deal with it.

I just didn’t realize how hard it was going to be when the time finally came.

At Lipscomb, we do all the celebration festivities in the spring together, whether you’re a May, August, or December graduate, but have separate commencements (August grads walk in May). So, I got to go to the celebrations and goodbye dinners with my class despite not walking with them last week. This was in some ways great– I still got to celebrate with my friends and the people I started Lipscomb with. Other ways, it was hard/weird/awkward, because I had to explain to people that I wasn’t graduating until December, which was a bit confusing when you celebrate in April/May. I’m glad I got to celebrate with my class, but it was weird knowing I still have a semester left to go.

I’ve always had friends that were a few years older or a few years younger than I am. I don’t know why, but I always gravitated away from people in my age group. I really never had a core group of friends in the same life stage as I was growing up.
That changed at Lipscomb. I had friends that were older and younger, like usual. However, thanks to gen ed classes, clubs, dorm life– I practically did life with mostly people my own age for the first time in my life. I was friends with mostly people the same age/life stage as I was, and I grew alongside them over the past 4 years. I’ve loved this part of the college experience, because I’d never had it before.

So, having to stay behind and watch them enter the life stage I should be entering was heartbreaking.

I should have walked with them on Saturday, instead of cheering from the sidelines proudly. (and I was so proud).

I should be done with student teaching and searching for a teaching job instead of fretting about Praxis tests.

I should be done with financial aid drama and not worrying about paying for an extra semester (UGH).

I should be moving on to the next chapter of adulthood. Despite loving college and being terribly sad to close this chapter, at the same time, I’m ready for it to be over- because it should be over.  I should be done. I need to be done. I’m mentally, physically, financially spent.

I was talking to a friend at the beginning of the semester about how apprehensive I was about college being almost over, and she said something to the effect of, “you don’t have to be ready yet, because it’s not over yet.” Well, now I am freaking ready, and yet it’s not over. Gah. How the tables turn, huh?

Emotionally, the days leading up to graduation wrecked me. I watched the baccalaureate online and sobbed. Sobbed. Uncontrollably. I should have been there with them. And it finally hit me just how much I wanted to be there with my people. It broke my heart.

I sat at the creek by my house and journaled and cried. I cried and cried. Why did my plan I’d laid out so carefully have to change? Why didn’t things go the way I wanted them to? Why couldn’t I graduate when I was supposed to? Of course, I made the change myself when I changed majors; I just didn’t realize the repercussions were going to cut me so deeply.

I held it (mostly) together during graduation, minus a few moments where Dr. McDowell and Dr. Lowry spoke. I held back tears, but they were there. I kept it together, though (until later).

It’s also hard being in this transitional limbo moment. My friends have graduated and are looking for jobs, moving, getting married. All awesome things, obviously. But I’m here lagging behind, still a college student.  That is hard for me to swallow.

It’s weird for me because even though I’m graduating in December, I will be almost completely separate from college life, unlike the past 4 years. I’ll be student teaching, so I won’t be in classes on campus. I won’t be involved in any clubs/events/ groups on campus like I have been every year. I’ll be a college student still, but not quite a college student. It’s such a weird place to be. All of my “lasts” were bittersweet, knowing that even know I’ll still be a student in the fall I won’t be around or able to be involved in them.

I’m also living at home and not in the dorm in the fall, which is extremely bittersweet and left me in tears. Some people hated dorm life. I loved every minute of it. Ok, most minutes of it… Elam has been home for 3 years, and I cried leaving, knowing I wouldn’t be living there in the fall.  (I can’t even go back to that blog post I just linked to, because tears immediately sprung up. Good Lord my emotions are so frazzled right now).

I didn’t realize how many emotional breakdowns were involved with senior year. Dang.

I’m living at home for financial reasons (and the hope that I can student teach here), but so much of my college experience was wrapped up in that place. It was hard to say goodbye, as silly as that sounds. (and as frustrated as I was living on a freshmen hall this year). It doesn’t help that after a week of being home for the summer, I’m already ready to get out. Sigh. It’ll be better for me in the long run, but still.

This year has been all over the place, emotionally. In some ways, I’m sad/scared to close this chapter. Every cliché about college going by so fast has been true, and it’s been the best 4 years of my life, challenges and all. I’m scared of what the next step is. I’m sad to leave college life, dorm life, and Lipscomb life. I’m ready, but not ready all at once.
Yet I’m sad to not be closing the chapter with my friends. Despite being sad this part of my life is almost over, I wish I was able to end it with the people I started with. It’s so, so hard.

I feel like I’m whining and being dramatic about this. I don’t mean to, but this just sucks right now. It’s perfectly fair, since I made the decision to switch majors, thus forcing myself to stay another semester.
I never thought I’d be this upset about it, but knowing me, I should have known. I’m too sentimental and emotional for my own good sometimes, and stuff like this brings it out of me. I know it’s just an extra semester, but it feels like so much more.

Other things, like my anxiety diagnosis and the weight of senior-level classes wore on me this year. Teaching practicums were awesome, but extremely stressful and hard. Most of my friend group lived off-campus, while I was still in Elam. It was a hard year in general.

Senior year was not fun, at all. There was good in it, but it simply wasn’t good.

And it kind of sucks that my last year was my worst year.

 I’m okay with being sad, with being angry and frustrated with myself. This year was hard. I knew it was going to be. I just wish I would have known just how much so.

 I don’t know why things had to unfold the way they did. I don’t know why I didn’t start out as an English major and avoided this whole mess. I don’t know what’s exactly next, or how I’m going to feel about it.  I don’t know how exactly I feel about this chapter almost closing. But I know there’s a reason and a plan for me, and I believe His plan is better than the one I have.

I just wish it would’ve included me graduating on time.

To quote my beloved Sarah Dessen: “shoulda, coulda, woulda. It’s so easy in the past tense.”

I don’t want to dwell on the could have and should have beens or the what ifs… but when it’s something so life-changing, it’s hard not to.

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