I pulled the zipper up on the side of my booties, sprayed a little perfume on my wrist, grabbed a cup of coffee, and headed out the door. A couple of houses down, a kid was sliding through the straps of his brand new backpack, straight out of the bag and still crisp. An hour away, a bunch of Aggies prepared for the start of Gig’Em week and in the heart of Houston, eager freshmen prepared for the best four years of their life.
In the midst of what I consider to be my first day of reality, I couldn’t help but think about all of the others. To be honest, I was little late to my date with the real world. The Houston traffic got a little real on me today and sent my stress levels through the roof of my car. Oh how I love unpredictability. But on my drive in I finally got that punch, that gut feeling that everyone talks about after you graduate. You know, the feeling you’re supposed to get that lets you know that you are no longer a kid and your “adult swim” session that you always wanted to be a part of has just become your biggest nightmare.
For the past couple of months I would get questions such as: “So how does it feel now that you’re a graduate?”. I think these questions were meant to freak me out because before today, I didn’t even know what it felt like to be somewhat of a functioning member in the real world (I have an internship, not a big girl job just yet). I was living at home with no job and suffering from an Office/Jim Halpert addiction (still am, but like I said, internship people! Making progress!).
(Thank you, Jim. I really needed that.)
However, today it became clear as I was swerving in and out of lanes trying to be as professional and as timely as possible. There is no more strolling late into class because you had too many margaritas at chimy’s the night before. There is no “one free” tardy pass and a slap on the wrist. This is it. This is just the beginning. This is the start of not seeing the same familiar faces in the same familiar town. This is my new normal, my new reality; and it scares me so good.
I relish in the memories that consist of exciting first day outfits and packed lunches. I sometimes yearn for one more night staying up late just so that I could wind up eating at kettle at 6:30 in the morning. But it’s all the same, isn’t it? I laid out my outfit last night and prepared my bag full of folders, a planner, and sticky notes. I made breakfast and got ready. I had nervous jitters knowing that I was about to meet my new teachers, the people I would be learning work and life lessons from. I got giggly with a new friend at lunch and got upset that the first day was officially over.
So to answer the question, “How does it feel now?”, well it feels pretty darn good. I’m ready for this new beginning. But I’ll let you know that sometimes, nothing really changes. I hold on to that. The routine of new beginnings. Whether you were excited for your first day of first grade or your first day at your new job, sleeping was still not an option. We treat it like it’s all the same, a precious moment. New beginnings don’t come often and this is our time to savor them.
So with a final few words, good luck to my dear friends who started their journey as educators today. Good luck to all the parents that had to send their children to school for the first or last time today. Good luck to my friends in college and enjoy these moments (even if you don’t remember some of them). And good luck to anyone starting something new; a job, a lifestyle change, or whatever it may be.
Reality stinks sometimes, but the journey is always fun.