This is it. That’s the thought I've felt inevitably flitting through my head these past few days as I wander around campus at the start of my last semester at Yale. For the last time I’m running cross campus to shop multiple classes at once, devouring syllabi with an almost manic hunger to find the right courses, and walking back form the bookstore arms laden down with pages and pages waiting to be consumed, and among all of this the though unavoidably intrudes: this is the last time I’ll be doing this. In just five months I’ll be graduating, trading classrooms and campus for meeting rooms and apartment buildings, and this part of my life will be over.
This is somewhat terrifying. After all, for the past 21 years of my life, its broad have been more or less painted by others. I've moved from one school to the next, playing sports and participating in extracurriculars, slowly ascending the academic ranks that lead to this moment. The control I've had over my own life, my ability to change the script, has been largely in determining where it will take place, whether in this school or that playing field or some classroom of my choosing. There’s a comfort in this mandate, a security of future. No matter how drastically I changed the script or messed up, the next day was, in some way guaranteed. From the end of this semester on, however, no such security exists. For the first time in my life there is no predetermined way for me to move forward, and that’s scary.
But it’s also slightly intoxicating. For most of my life, I haven’t had a say in the grand events that shaped me, other than where they might happen. I followed a certain path less because I made a conscious, autonomous choice to do so, but more because I had do. I’ve been dependent on others, and so somewhat beholden to what they want for me. Now, though, there’s no door closed to me other than that which I close myself. Now there is nothing to dictate my path but my own desires. For the first time the course of remaining life will be dictated by myself alone, and there’s something irresistably, undeniably exciting in all of that.
In truth, all such moments are like this. Fear and excitement are sisters, after all, both the heart-pounding anticipation emotions that play on our uncertainty of what is to come. If we wait with excitement for something, there is always going to be some fear that what excites us will not come to pass as we imagine it, and vice versa. One is nothing more than the darker shade of the other. But there is power for us in this, because if they coexist we can choose which to embrace. As for me, while I will never forget that there is reason to fear, I will always choose excitement. The future is full of so much to fear and await, and I get to choose what it is. What could be more electrifying than that?
With excitement and Optimism,