Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"As we go on, we remember
All the times we had together
And as our lives change, from whatever
We will still be, friends forever"

"Graduation Song" by Vitamin C

I know its lame to quote any part of that song but I'm going to do it anyway. While they may not be the most profound or clever lyrics, all graduates can relate to those words. I'm going to try really hard to not let this become some sappy entry about how sad I am to graduate and leave Berkeley. Let's think of it more as a reflection.

So this past Saturday was my graduation. While graduation may sound like a glamorous event, I wasn't really looking forward to it. I mean who really wants to sit outside listening to someone read off names for 3.5 hours! But, you only graduate from college once and I didn't want to regret not going.

The day was anything but perfect. It was rainy. It started at 8:30 A.M. It actually lasted the ENTIRE 3.5 hours. But as the ceremony went on, I found myself sad for the first time about graduating. In fact, I had to hold back tears on a few accounts. It just had never really hit me that after graduation, college really is over.

This past week has been all about goodbye:
Goodbye to problem sets, essays, midterms, and final exams
Goodbye to the Berkeley eccentrics on Telegraph
Goodbye to the room that I've been living in for the last two years
Goodbye to cheap gym membership (this one's really going to hurt)
Goodbye to teaching and tutoring
Goodbye to my coworkers, students, and friends
Goodbye to Berkeley

While I may be a bit sad, I know that staying an undergraduate forever is not an option. I need to move on and enter the real world as scary as that may be. I need to see what else there is outside of a school. Only after that can I come back for graduate school possibly. While I may not have done everything I wanted to in college, I honesty haven't had any regrets. And that is something that I am really happy about.

The great thing about college is that it lets you grow and figure out who you are. It's like my dad used to tell me: "College is like finishing school for becoming an adult." Sometimes I think about what I was like as a freshman and if I would recognize myself.

In any case, I'm one step closer to China. I know I may sound really scared and nervous about going to China, and that's because I am! The unexpected and the unknown have that effect on people. But change is what is going to help me grow and make me a better person.

Maybe I shouldn't think of this all as "goodbye," but more like a "I'll see you later." Or in Mandarin: zai jian = "again see"

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