I feel a bit shaky, like butterflies are hovering in my stomach. The first day of school is approaching for everyone, back-to-school shopping is happening, and I feel like I should be starting something new. The beginning of a semester always brought me new adventures, new friends, new life lessons, and new knowledge; this shaky nervousness has always been accompanied by a jump-start into something absolutely new.
But this year – this year is different. I’m not going back to school. I graduated from my undergrad last spring and somehow managed to find a real job over the summer. I should be happy, right? I don’t have to go back to 7:30 AM classes where everyone was basically still asleep (except for the professor) or 1 AM last-minute paper-writing sessions, stretched across a tiny bucket chair for no reason (I mean really, the sofa was right there next to me. I could have moved and become instantly more comfortable).
So why do the butterflies in my stomach leave me . . . confused?
Because they aren’t necessary. They have no point. I’ve already begun my last new adventure for the foreseeable future, and these nerves that I’m feeling mean nothing. There will be no jump-start into a semester this time.
I think what makes it even worse for me, personally, is that I just moved to an apartment complex where I’m surrounded by college kids. They’ve all been steadily moving back into town and getting into the feel of a new semester. Today I saw a buff guy riding a pink scooter – something that would have probably been a common sight at my own college (#respect, man) – and a pair of parents helping their daughter move into a house down the road. Needless to say, the nostalgia has been overwhelmingly present this week.
Also, part of the problem is that I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel this year. You’re supposed to be excited for school, or you’re supposed to dread school. More than likely, you feel some combination of both excitement and loathing. But nobody tells you what to feel after school is over.
I do feel incredibly grateful and blessed to be where I am; but I just can’t get over how weird it is that all my huge anticipation for something new is gone. All my life I have been planning for the next step, for the next adventure. The little me that went to elementary school always knew that the older me would go to middle school, then high school, then college, then get a job. But . . . what comes after that? Retirement? No, no – that’s too much time between stages in life. There has to be something else.
But you know what? I’ll make there be something else. I want to feel that rush of stepping into the unknown – nothing too crazy though, since I actually like where I am in my life right now – but if I’m going to have adventure in my life, if I’m going to give those butterflies in my stomach any meaning, then I have to make it happen.
I’ll make it into the best adventure yet.
Corinne Pachl is a recent graduate from Truman State University whose heart will always lie in the depths of Kansas City, MO. Since studying abroad in Europe, she just wants to travel and eat food from all over the world. Until her next adventure, she aspires to find happiness and understanding in the soundtrack of everyday life.