The Final Beginning
The semester ahead of me is a great unknown to me. Sure I know what classes I am taking (or at least hope to take if I get off the wait lists!), but a big unknown is what to do with all of the free time I will have. Seriously. As I reflect on the last 1.5 years of my life, creating free time was the hard part. Demands on my time were huge and from all aspects of my life.
In the final semester, I won't have a job search to worry about (I've signed with consulting firm Bain & Company - Chicago). I won't have clubs to worry about since I've passed the torch onto a great group of first-year students for the various positions I've held. I won't even be helping first-year students with career prep, which can take a large chunk of time. Furthermore, my course work is not too difficult as I'll be taking a fairly low credit load. I won't have quite the same free time as some of my classmates that are studying abroad and ending about the time our first quarter is done, but still, it's a lot of free time.
Thankfully, I'm not without ideas. My wife and I will be getting a dog and I'm super excited about it. I'm also TA-ing Intermediate Accounting, including teaching one day a week with undergrads. And who can forget about the bowling league which starts this week. I hear we have over 200 people signed up and there's a wait list. That's nearly half the school. Now that's a strong community.
I suppose that's one of the things that makes going into this final semester kind of...emotional. I have some really good friends that I've made and it seems like no two of us are going to the same state, much less city. It's an exaggeration, but is something that is both valuable to me and a little sad. It's cool to know that I can travel the country, or even world, and have friends nearby. The sad (or perhaps exciting!) part is that I will have to travel to see them. With all the technology in the world, there's nothing quite the same as meeting someone at the Chapter House, The Westy, or some other local bar.
Interestingly, graduation typically has this "long time away yet right around the corner" feeling, but right now it only feels like the latter part of that phrase. Hotels have been sold out for months and dinner reservations for that weekend are secured. I'm already thinking about the fact that I'll be moving and need to find a place to live. Holiday decorations are packed away knowing I'll never see them up at the place that's been my home for nearly four years. At a recent dinner the conversation was centered on what our Ithaca Bucket List entailed.
Yes, this is a final beginning. But it is a beginning and I'm excited to make the most of it.