“I’ll stay if you can pay for it for me,” I tried to compromise.
…she didn’t fall for that one.
Her response made me feel sick. It made me realize how much I’d miss out on. How much I’d miss my friends. How scary the real world is.
I pondered my predicament every day from the moment I noticed my degree audit’s tapped-out supply of credits. It took seeing a very expensive out-of-pocket cost on my student bill for me to see reason. I’ve always been a sensible person, much to my own chagrin. I knew what I needed to do, though I’d been in an impenetrable state of denial about it for months.
I told my friend Haley, a fellow December graduate, first.
“Congratulations, Emily!” was her response.
Wait… BACK UP, I thought.
I had expected her to tell me to stay, tell me to stick around and enjoy my senior year, tell me she didn’t want to graduate in December, either. But she didn’t.
I hesitantly told one of my roommates.
“I figured you would,” she said, referencing a conversation we’d had over the summer when I had first mentioned the possibility. “I would if I could.”
DON’T YOU WANT ME TO STAY?!?!? I wanted to scream. WHAT ABOUT ALL THE FUN SENIOR THINGS WE CAN’T DO TOGETHER NOW? WHAT ABOUT THE FACT SOMEONE ELSE WILL HAVE TO MOVE IN TO MY ROOM?!?
None of it seemed to faze her.
So I’m done letting it faze me.
I’m done standing in front of Plassmann Hall with tears rolling down my cheeks at 2 a.m. on a Saturday. My life isn’t over. On the contrary, it’s kind of beginning.
After applying online for December graduation and filling out how I want my name to appear on my diploma, I called my mom to tell her. Luckily (I guess), my dad was in the car with her.
They congratulated me. Told me they’re proud of me. Graduating early isn’t the crutch I’d formerly seen it as. If anything, it’s a boost, an advantage.
Then my parents dropped a bomb onto my life.