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The end of all things

May 28, 2010

Today was my last day of undergrad classes, provided I don’t fail a subject (god forbid). Upon leaving campus, I was struck by an odd sense of déjà vu. Not because I’ve already had a crack at this university caper, but the whole thing was reminiscent of the end of high school (without the drinking on campus after class). You know the end is coming, and when it does, it’s rather anticlimactic.

My final week of high school was quite a few years ago (and making me feel old by thinking about it) and thus a little hazy. As far as I can recall however, I was as excited as a 17 year old can be about ending high school and moving on to the next big thing. Gone would be the days of the set routine of 9am to 3pm; the future held responsibility, and for me, university: a world of independence was just around the corner. There was also the sense that this was start of adulthood; after all, not a month later I would be turning 18. Thus, the end of high school more than anything represented the end of childhood.

When 3.15 came on that Friday afternoon in November, there was a brief exultation when the bell rang. There were a few farewells in the locker room. My friends and I went to the local McDonalds (a time-honoured tradition), ate, talked and eventually went our separate ways. But really, the excitement of finishing high school had ended when the bell stopped ringing.

Today was just like that day. My friends and I went to a uni bar, drank, talked and eventually went our separate ways. As I did all those years ago, I found myself with a rather empty feeling and thinking, “So what now?” It’s the same sort of feeling one gets after having expectations built up (such as the film you must see) only to find them utterly unfulfilled (I’m looking at you, Titanic). But in this situation there were no expectations, and perhaps this is why I’m feeling a little lost.

So what’s different? This time around there is no great leap forward (apologies, but I did study China this semester) like there is in the transition from high school to uni. Having (technically) made the transition from childhood to adulthood, there’s nothing left in that respect. What’s more, back then, the next big thing was clearly set out. Now, it’s less obvious. Finally, in 2005, a whole group of my cohort were in the same boat as I. In 2010, I am the only person I know graduating this semester.

This is not to say I’m sad about finishing. For the most part, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve enjoyed my time at uni and god knows it’s made me a far better and more interesting person (at least I’d like to think so). But honestly, I couldn’t keep doing the same things I’ve been doing for the past three years. And it will be nice to be able to read what I want again. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find something to do until October…

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