Cue up the graduation music, pop off the streamers, and light the fireworks…because it’s time for me to GRADUATE! Wow, has it been one hell of a ride! The last three years of my life have been full of learning about my craft and myself. I have grown in so many ways…I appreciate my life so much. I don’t even feel sad about graduating, unlike when I received my undergraduate degree and then wept all that night.
Back then, the fear of not knowing what I wanted to do after four years of schooling had me paralyzed. I was going to be like every other college grad, and because the world puts SO much pressure on you to be something by 21, I felt powerless and pathetic—even though I wasn’t. I know that now, but it took me so long to understand that journeys are never a straight line. Today, I’m graduating with a job, a short story collection and, ultimately, a clear vision—but if that changes in the next few years, that’s ok too. Because I know that you have to be flexible and kind to yourself.
Ok, I lied—I’m a little sad. I will miss my cohort, a lot of whom are leaving or have moved on to new ventures in their lives. I thank them all for being such a varied, amazingly talented bunch of writers. I remember the first day of workshop when we all looked around the circle, not talking until Joe Meno walked into the room. The timid answers grew to confident analysis and several 8-page drafts that became fully-realized short stories by the end of the semester. How proud I am of us all, of all the work that we’ve done.
For my last blog, I will end it with some of my hopes.
I hope that I keep in contact with most of my cohort, and that we’ll continue to send each other our stories for advice.
I hope that I can come back to Columbia and read my first novel or short story collection.
I hope that Columbia continues to foster one of the best writing communities that I’ve ever been a part of.
Well, it’s been real folks. Thank you, Columbia College Chicago, and see you around the city!