Posted on May 10, 2010 at 9:58 am
Five more weeks. Four, if one doesn’t count finals. Nineteen days of class. Not that anyone is counting.
Cliché as it sounds, it’s hard to believe that four years have gone by since I first set foot in Cynthia Westerbeck’s “Survey of British Literature Class,” terrified out of my cargo pants that were awesome in high school but not nearly so cool when I looked around at the rest of the class. It’s hard to imagine that it was the same me. In fact, if the me now had walked into the class with me then, I probably would have been absolutely terrified of my future self, which would probably have thought my past self was adorable—not in the “fuzzy kitten” sort of way, but rather, in the way that tigers probably think about hunters—and slightly obnoxious.
I suppose, in some sense, it really isn’t the same me at all. I have a different major (well, three different majors) than the Peter Katz sitting in Dr. Westerbeck’s class. I dress differently, speak differently, think differently. That Peter Katz thought he wanted to be a novelist, or that the story he had written made him a novelist; this Peter frequently reads said novel so that he can laugh at what he thought was good writing. That Peter wanted to be an editor at a publishing firm; this Peter is on his way to a Ph. D. in Victorian Literature at Syracuse University. That Peter had sworn off girls for the extent of his collegiate career; this Peter is getting married in less than two months.
So, to all the parents of graduating seniors, I regret to inform you that you’ve lost a son or daughter. The little boy or girl whom you sent off to get a solid Adventist education is no more. I’m sure this is rather hard to hear, but I think you know. You, professors, and all the other sundry mentors we’ve had over the past four years have watched as that the “us” of the past disappeared, and was replaced by the new.
Someday, maybe in five years, as I’m writing my dissertation, my parents will get another letter home, informing them that the young man who thought he was so grown up five years ago in fact was just as “adorable” as he was four years before that.
But don’t worry. That Peter will still be around, somewhere. Every once in a while, between essays on Cultural Critical Theory and Victorian gender constructions, he’ll take out that shoddy fantasy novel, put on those tacky cargo pants, and write another chapter.
To my parents, and the parents of my classmates: Thanks for standing by us, financially, emotionally, and in every other way for the last four years, and the eighteen before that.
Senior English (etc.) Major
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