class of 2013

Mom, am I still young?
Can I dream for a few months more?

– Mitski, Class of 2013 

I was supposed to graduate from college in 2013 but I dropped out pretty soon after I arrived on campus. I joke that I moonlighted as a student for two years but the reality is that I hated every moment and I rarely made it to class. If my final exams had been on Dawson’s Creek, I would’ve aced them no problem. I could probably write a thesis on how Joey shouldn’t have picked either Pacey OR Dawson and instead she should have moved as far away from the Creek as she possibly could. I basically took out student loans to watch the WB on DVD and drink copious amounts of PBR. I think it was also during this time I discovered the culinary genius that is Southern Comfort and Dr. Pepper.

So yeah, I guess all in all college went really, really well for me.

I must admit that I was surprised at how positively horrific the entire experience was for me. I had dreamt of going to college since the first day of high school. I had planned my life up until about 27 when I was supposed to graduate from law school and get engaged a la Elle Woods. I had a motherfuckin’ plan and I had busted my ass in high school and dotted all my i’s just so I could walk the quad at my perfect college in the city of my…dreams?

I should’ve known my teenage brain was no more equipped to make a decision than my current alcohol-addled adult brain. And so here we are almost four years after I was supposed to graduate from that institute of higher learning and almost two years from the projected completion of law school.

Spoiler Alert (No, Dawson’s Creek was not a spoiler. It’s been off the air for over a decade.): I am not a lawyer and I have no intention of going back to college any time soon. Oh, I have tried. I have pulled myself up by my bootstraps and re-enrolled at community colleges and tried taking smaller course loads but alas I have never found the experience as enriching as initially promised.

I am a college drop-out.

If someone had told me that would be my life ten years ago, I would have passed out and promptly woken up and settled right into a full body heave. But you know what? So what. I am not seeking that degree anymore. Class of 2013? That means nothing to me because this is what they never tell you: no matter what you do and where you go, there you are and the human condition is lonely and overwhelming.

But one thing is for certain, you have to continuously choose life. Whatever shape that may take for you, you live. You wake up every day and even if you slump through it that doesn’t matter…just get through it. Ideally we will push and we will fight and shout and laugh and scream and hang on but some days it’s all you can do to shuffle.

And that’s okay. That is so okay you don’t even know it yet. I suppose this is the anti-graduation speech that all of us drop outs share when the world closes in and judges us and makes us feel inadequate. Because it does and it always will but what matters now and every day forward is what we do with the freedom afforded to us by the lack of student loans and structured, pre-packaged learning that might have otherwise befallen us had we bought into the dream.

So hey, since we’re here why don’t we dream a bit more?