Light at the End of the Tunnel

By Megan Reilly

Someone in my graduate cohort posted the following countdown on Facebook yesterday: “100 days till graduation!” It was like May 17th had become the light at the end of the tunnel.

My first reaction was joy. YAY, only 100 more days until I have my life back, until my weekends don’t have to be spent in my living room with my laptop, until I can read for fun again, until I can accept any happy hour invitation without the response “oh I can’t, I have class that night.”

But after a second, the joy subsided into something a little less sure. It felt a little like it did senior year of high school and senior year of college. Uncertainty, mixed with an unspoken fear of drifting apart from friends and knowing your life was going to change, even if only a little, after this pre-determined date that had been on your calendar for more than a year.

My cohort has become pretty close over the past year and a half, so knowing at least some of them will be leaving DC for jobs elsewhere is tough to think about. It’s hard to believe how quickly strangers can become the people you want around you most. Maybe it’s the weekly interactions that have made us close or just knowing that there are other people who support and understand your career aspirations. But a big part of it is that we’ve taken this journey together. We all started by feeling pretty lost and not sure where we wanted to end up. And now we’ve almost come to the end, so it’s hard not to feel at least a little nostalgic and a little afraid that the friendships will change when the journeys end.

After reflecting on how lucky I have been in my grad school experience though, I reread the Facebook post of my friend’s countdown and quickly went back to the feeling of joy. But this time it was in recognition of how much growth has taken place in the last 18 months. Not only in the classroom, but professionally, personally, and in so many other ways that make me so proud of not only my own accomplishments, but the accomplishments of all the amazing people I am lucky to call my colleagues.

Now for just 100 more days of growing, learning, becoming better in whatever ways we can… how’s that for a light at the end of the tunnel?

Follow Megan on Twitter at @MReilly90.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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