Even though we still have papers to finish and an agonizing week of finals to get through, the real struggle is yet to come. For those of us with friends who are graduating this semester, the ultimate struggle is dealing with the reality that they are leaving. May is the month to get sentimental about our favorite seniors graduating. Despite all our preparations and bracing ourselves for that day to come, it’s never the right time to say goodbye.
Drake said it best, “(We) live for the nights we can’t remember, with the people (we) won’t forget.” Over the course of our undergraduate career, our friends have been an integral part of our college experience. Whether those nights involved endless hours of studying in Doe Library or spontaneous runs to Kip’s, they are all meaningful memories because of the friends we made here. It just so happens that every year, like clockwork, a chunk of our friends move on to the next chapter in their lives and we are left waiting, still trying to get our lives together.
We try to buy the best gifts for the graduates to express how much they have impacted our lives. Sometimes, we settle for cheesy cards with quotes from Dr. Seuss’ perennial classic “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” that’ll never really capture how much love we have for our friends. If we’re simping especially hard, we make graduation playlists complete with “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men, “I Miss You” by blink-182 and “Graduation” by Vitamin C. For some us, listening to all of Kanye West’s Graduation album will suffice. As we race to get last minute leis and bouquets, we are constantly reminded of how quickly time has flown by.
Attending the commencement ceremonies feels like a well-rehearsed routine. You wait for your friends’ names to be called, scream at the top of your lungs when they get their diplomas, take dozens of pictures on your phone hoping one is Instagram-worthy, drink complimentary champagne and cheese and crackers, and then … they leave. For the softer ones here, holding back the tears can be an extremely difficult task. Don’t worry, if a droplet rolls down your cheek, you can blame it on allergies. For others, it doesn’t quite hit you until you sit down to write that perfect grad photo caption or help your friends pack up their things when they move out of their apartments.
It’s not that we’re not happy for you. Trust us, we’re ecstatic that you’re going out there to kick butt with your degree(s)! You’ve done your time. We’re grieving our own loss: the time we don’t get to be with you. You’ll tell us stories about life on the other side (not death, but “the real world” of 9 to 5s, graduate school, paying off student loans, etc.). It’s change that we’ll have to cope with at the end of the day. No longer will you be a room away or even in the same city. We’ll probably see each other more on our social media feeds than in person, but that doesn’t mean we won’t always be friends. To all the seniors graduating, just know that you can count on Berkeley being your home away from home. After all, aren’t we all going to stay Golden Bears at heart?
Adios, arrivederci, ciao, auf Wiedersehen, au revoir, sayonara, farewell.
There are so many ways of saying goodbye, but that doesn’t make it any easier. For now, we’d much rather say see you later, Class of 2016.
Contact Abigail Balingit at [email protected].