I graduated from college on Sunday. I have trouble wrapping my mind around that concept; for the first time in 15 years – essentially as long as I can remember – I’m not a student. I’m a college graduate. I don’t think the full reality has quite set in yet; right now it could be any other summer break… the difference is that I’ll never go back. School is no longer my life. Hamilton is no longer my home. Weird.

Sunday was too hectic to feel anything. Family running around, friends trying to meet up, schedules to follow, things to take care of – it was just a whirlwind. Now that I have time to sit and think, I can finally sort out my emotions.

First of all, I’m happy: I made it! I’ve finished what I stared on that day four years ago when, while walking in the glen with my dad, I made the decision to attend Hamilton. I grew, I loved, I learned, I achieved so much, I struggled but emerged victorious, and I’m so glad to have experienced it all. As the names of my classmates were being called, I found myself thinking back to freshman orientation. So much has happened since then… I have so many wonderful memories… so much joy in these past four years.

I’m excited: for what comes next. Brasil baby!!! I think back to the wonder and joy I experienced during each day I lived there, and I can’t wait for more. To develop deeper relationships as I settle for a longer period of time, to further improve my Portuguese, to take my capoeira to the next level, to delve into new research… it’s gonna be awesome! I’m also excited for everyone else, to see where they go, what they do, and what they make of themselves. The world is truly open to us.

And there is also the sadness. I grieve for the loss of a lifestyle that I grew to love, and especially of the closeness with those of my friends who have become family. I am a person who forms few, but deep, friendships. It doesn’t hurt to leave, but does sadden me to know that we’ll never return to the way we were, to spending every day together. Obviously it’s inevitable and necessary, but that doesn’t stop it from stinging. My biggest fear is losing contact. I hope that the bonds we’ve developed are deep enough that we won’t forget about each other so easily.

Ultimately, though, I’ve always been the type to embrace the future rather than mourn the past, so I’m not shedding *too* many tears over the end of this particular chapter in my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better four years.