When I wrote my admissions essay for Boston College, I used the last lines of my still most beloved book, Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which had captivated me the moment I read them. They read, “Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”
I read these words now as I did then, with a nagging urgency in the pit of my stomach to find a vocation that still remains unfound, even after four years of relentless searching. I entered the college applications process with an eager and raw sense of purpose-I didn’t know the specifics of what or how, but I knew where I wanted this journey to begin.
I knew it when I heard Peter Folan speak at my orientation. While everyone else seemed to be just listening, I was on a level of understanding all my own, secretly and wholeheartedly relishing the sense of rightness that I felt in that moment. Falling in love with BC was, for me, as instantaneous as hearing your name and understanding that it’s yours-they told me the heart of BC, and I knew a piece of it resided with me.
I knew it when I cried during Fishbowl at 48 Hours, when I cried when I watched others leave this paper and then when I myself left, when I cried when they played “Shipping Up to Boston” at our last football game, when I cried in my best friend’s arms because I had my heart broken, when I cried writing this column because I, probably like you, am unreasonably in love with this place and I am scared to leave it.
I am most scared to leave you, the people whose vitality makes this place move, who have made me believe in myself, with whom I drank too much on too many nights, who make up the family of the Class of 2014, who have made BC my home, whose outpouring of love over the past few weeks has shown me just how much we all truly mean to each other and that being an Eagle means more than just cheering for the same team. You are the people with whom I have shared the unbreakable bond of four years, years that have been the best of my life. When I think about May 19, I am filled with overwhelming gratitude for what it concludes.
Standing now at the edge of the rest of my life, the gravity of goodbye is unignorable. What I leave behind now will belong to a past filled with people who once meant a lot to me and places to which I once belonged. Still, I know that being an Eagle is forever, and I’m filled with an overwhelming excitement for the future, for making memories with the people who will be a part of it, building a life all my own, and seeing what becomes of it. These fleeting weeks, momentarily suspended between what was and what will be, are the time to worry about nothing and everything, to know that everything will fall into place as it’s meant to, to have no idea what’s next and to cry, and hug, and help each other be okay with that. It’s the time to hold close that makes us happy and eager to live another day, to realize that the most important thing we can fall in love with is life.