Sorry this is late again, but it’s time to get personal for a moment.
So, two weeks ago was a big and important time in my life: not only was I graduating from college, my home for the past four years, but I was also moving into an apartment with some friends of mine. A lot of emotions have gone through me these past two weeks and I’ll try to articulate them as much as I can. Simply put, this is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life.
I’ve never felt sadness in leaving a school like I did leaving college. I jumped around grade schools as a child, sure, but I was just a kid at the time and once I left private school I lost pretty much every friend I thought I had. Not entirely certain if I had many, now that I think about it. To middle school, I said “Goodbye and Good Riddance!” as soon as I could. High school, I had a few friends, but it’s pretty much been narrowed down to one by now. Plus, middle school and high school had been pretty miserable experiences for me all around so I had no qualms about getting as far away from them as I could. Going halfway across the country helped with that, I’d think. As for my study abroad school, I tried to not get too attached as I knew I’d be gone in three months anyway, but I managed to make a friend all the same and we have FaceBook to help us keep in touch. I do miss London though.
College? College was different. Outside of my best friend, four years is now the longest I’ve ever had a consistent friend. I started my college career with one friend over a thousand miles away. Now, I have over fifty, most of whom live here in Chicago with me. I have more friends now than I’ve had in my entire life. That’s sad. That’s really sad.
College, and by extension Chicago, is the place I finally found like minded people who actually liked hanging out with me. They actively want to spend time with me, even with my nerdiness and crappy cannibal jokes. Hell, it’s because of my nerdiness and crappy cannibal jokes…okay less so the cannibal jokes. Sure, class was sometimes stressful and not everyone got along 24/7, but most of the time we did. We were a tight nit community who, while open to newcomers, were also pretty protective of our own, like a wolf pack. We got into debates on things like religion, politics, societal stuff, etc, but they were always more discussions and intellectual debates than arguments. I think the main thing I’ll miss about college is that I had such a close group that I saw almost every day that it’s hard to be parted from it. But I’m not really parted from it.
After the graduation ceremony, where I basically just sat there playing the first Harry Potter movie in my head for three hours (I made it like 3/4 of the way through the movie and I contend I’d have made it all the way if the second film hadn’t kept trying to butt in), I found out many of my friends (clubmates or alumni) came to my graduation to cheer on the club graduates. It sort of hammered in something in my brain that I’d forgotten about. This wasn’t like when I left [Ninja] (my best friend). I was living here now. I could still see my friends and that made me feel better about leaving my home of four years. I was still living in Chicago. I was still home.
Chicago has so much more to offer me than [TheyCallItACityButIt’sReallyATown(s)ville] ever did. Here there are comic book stores that embrace women, people of colour, and others of different sexualities and lifestyles (at the least the stores I’ve been to anyway), game stores too. (My hometown, as far as I know, only had one comic book store) Here there’s interesting culture and entertainment, easy transportation so I don’t have to learn how to drive a car (which, by the way, terrifies me almost as much as the dark), and, and I know how strange this sounds, I actually feel safer in Chicago than I ever have in my hometown. The big city makes me feel safer than the quiet suburb. This is probably helped by the fact that I’ve lived in pretty safe(ish) neighbourhoods the entire time I’ve lived here and my fear of the dark prevents me from going out at night unaccompanied.
That’s why I’m happy to be in the situation I’m in right now. With the exception of the whole ‘I need a job. Oh God. Oh God, I need to get a job’ thing, this was really the best case scenario for me.
My flatmates, [Kitten] and [Sunshine], are amazing people and, as noted by my parents, have eerily similar tastes in entertainment and food to me. My friends and I are still connected through FaceBook and, as I said, most of them still live in Chicago so we can still hang out together and do our usual stuff (go to comic book/ game/ book stores, see movies, go out to eat, go to events, just hang out, etc.) and I don’t have to suffer through the same feelings I had during the rest of my school career (minus college, of course). I don’t have to be alone. Sure, [Kitten] and [Sunshine] and many others work during the weekdays so I still get lonely on occasion, but it’s not all day everyday with only my parents for comfort and companionship. If I want to be alone than I have my own room with a working door and not the closet (read: Mom and Dad’s old room that Mom converted into her closet with a daybed in it) with the broken door I sleep in at my parents’ house, but then being alone is MY choice. In Chicago, I have that choice. The choice of socialisation and the choice of solitude.
I am (not) alone.
(Photo via Poets & Quants)