So, I’ve never taken endings very well. Endings to books; endings to relationships; endings to eras – they’re all the same: a mixture of relief and grief tied up in one tidy little moment of closure.
Graduations, in particular, have always brought out the worst of this inherent reluctance. The fierceness with which I cling to my chosen educational institutions and/or professors might, in some circles, be considered gauche, embarrassing, over-the-top.
This week marks the official end of my graduate school studies. And, as excited as I am to shed the day job and get on with a new chapter in my life, there is something deeply bittersweet about the finality of this venture. I wonder if I’ll ever have the luxury of enjoying such a focused education again, or if the idea-sphere is something that can only be cultivated in a classroom. It’s not that I prefer to live life in theory, but that life sometimes seems so much more interesting, and certainly less intimidating, that way.
I am one of the only people I know who could go to school, full-time, for decades and be completely happy. My reluctance to finish things off is, of course, a fear that once I’ve got the diploma in-hand, I’ll slump down into a life in which I forget how to lean in to challenge, or how to celebrate the power of ideas.
Nevertheless, I”m going to try to celebrate this week. Finishing my M.F.A. is a milestone, whether or not I want it to be over. It is a gift with debt (both literal and metaphorical) attached, but a gift all the same. Now I’ve just got to figure out how to go out and use it.