I was sitting in the kitchen last night when my mom asked “Ashley, did you post on your blog today?”
After answering with a “No,” I got the cringing response; “You know it’s been a month, right?”
Oye, nothing like your mom calling you out for being distracted.
Something about being a graduate student in November and December? It’s busy. And not in all of the typical expected ways.
Of course there are the “finals,” which in my case were all final projects. Final packages to film and edit, papers to write and scripts to finish. I had to turn in some final research (eek, which I still need to do). There were students from my TA class with a lot of questions and there were some very busy end-of-semester projects for my graduate assistantship.
That’s all expected and a good excuse, right?
The other intangible part was that there were holidays to prepare for; a month-long trip home to pack and anticipate––and a lot of graduating that called for celebrations.
I remember so vividly early September. Not only did December seem far away, it still seemed imminent. There was an intimidating “older” girl in one of my classes who was set to graduate at the end of the semester. We always ended up sitting next to each other in our class. She seemed nice; but like she knew what she was doing. And since she had already been in Boston a year, I figured she already had friends and she wouldn’t take too much notice of me.
In some ways that made me grateful because she wouldn’t be looking over my shoulder at my mess of an edit job.
Somehow one day I decided to tell her about November Project though. She looked like she appreciated being active and working out. And that’s all it took.
She wanted to come! And it turned out that we had a lot to talk about. Enough so that she invited me to meet her at a birthday party that weekend.
Hmm. Even though Jeanna was 23 (younger than me!); she was getting ready to graduate. And in a REALLY weird way I felt like I was back in high school and an older girl was inviting me to a party––and oh, I felt special.
But I didn’t know anyone.
The kids in my program year hadn’t really hit it off yet. I wasn’t comfortable enough to really force one of them to be a tag-along.
That Saturday night as I had text back and forth with Jeanna, who was asking where I was at, I was skeptical.
I told my roommates, “They’re going to graduate in December. What’s the point? Why make the effort to be friends?”
My roommate Brian made a plausible case, “You never know what kind of connections they could be afterwards! If nothing else, go for that.”
I said if I could find a sidekick I would go. Luckily for me, Erika said she’d meet me there in 15 minutes.
Four months later as I got a little teary writing Jeanna’s graduation card among a stack of others, I thought “Wow. What if I hadn’t gone to that party?”
Maybe things would have turned out quite similar and the next weekend she would have convinced me to come.
Maybe inevitably my friend Alex would’ve gotten to me and forced me to hang out like he’s apt to do.
All I know is that after that night I fairly forced the graduating class to adopt me as a surrogate graduate. I spent all of my weekends with them. I went to all of their celebrations for the end of the semester. And I went through some waves of sadness in the last month realizing that the next two semesters will be very different without them.
Every time my mom would call it seemed that I was on my way to a party. “Are you sure you’re doing school work?!”
I was. But I had to make sure I squeezed in all of my time and congratulations in the midst of that school. Boston has been for graduate school, yes—but turns out that it’s also been for a lot more.
Not to mention, that birthday party? Well it turned out to be Andy’s birthday party. Yeah, that turned out kind of special too.
My life in Boston would only have been a shadow of as awesome if it hadn’t been for those people graduating.
Beautiful Christmas Sweater photo creds to Jeanna.
So, that is why I am so delayed. I’ve been living it up the last month and soaking in every last second before going back to North Carolina.
You know, as the plane landed and I’m walking through the Charlotte terminal, I couldn’t help but feel like it had only been a week that I was gone. A week of a surreal, yet very detailed dream.
It’s just nice to know that it wasn’t. And while for a few weeks that may feel like a parallel life—I’ll try to connect it to North Carolina as best as I can over the holidays.
Man, there’s one heck of a New Year’s post brewing. I can feel it!
More on turkeys, Thanksgiving, the Macy’s Parade and all this love I’m feeling for life soon. But at least now you’re decently on the news.