To the Graduating Class of 2016, and Everyone in Between; A Love Letter

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

To the graduating class of 2016;

Hi. What's up? Mahalo. Talofa lava. Suh dude, etc etc. Hey there. We've made it. Thank fucking god, we have made it. The campus bubble is just about burst, and life as we know is about to drastically change. No more assignments, no more tutors, no more lectures or late nights studying. Goodbye cheap doctors appointments, goodbye MAWSA and Massive Magazine and all your controversies. Goodbye pyramid, goodbye Tussock. See ya, ciao, Auf Wiedersehen. We are so outta here.

I've talked to a few people, and some are terrified. This is to be expected. It seems like just yesterday that we were weaving through hordes of other terrified first years on our way to our very first class. I remember clearly my first day. I was one of those poor unfortunate souls who got lost and was late for class. I remember hurtling around the campus, orientation map in hand *cringe*, until I finally ended up in tears. Upon finally reaching my destination I discovered the tutor did not give a single shit whether I was late to class nor did she care if I actually finished my homework, let alone turned up at all. Welcome to uni little one (literally, I'm 5"4), you're on your own.

I suppose this is the point where I'm supposed to say something incredibly uplifting and inspiring, empowering even. But to all of you graduating, I feel like you can already sense it. That feeling at the light at the end of the tunnel, of euphoria. Four years after I ran through the campus feeling completely and entirely alone, I am not scared in the slightest of what is to come, in fact, I'm excited. Bring it on. A world of travel and new people and new experiences awaits. You could even go as far as to say that a whole new life awaits. Can you feel it? Freedom? That sun on your back? Can you taste life on your lips? Anyone who's already graduated would probably tell me that within a few months of being capped we'll be just as downtrodden and defeated as every other person on this godforsaken planet. Call me optimistic, but I don't care. We made it, so we might as well enjoy it while it lasts. Because life is here, true life is beginning. So long Massey, it's been a helluva ride.

So to those who still have a way to go;

Years ago, we stood in your very shoes. Years of university life ahead, some of us scared shitless, most of us revelling in the fact we didn't have to behave like responsible adults just yet. That we could put off the inevitable for a little while longer, drinking away our nights and sleeping away our days in damp flats with leaky taps and old fridges, the noises of which would often be likened to badly played bagpipes or an airplane taking off.

Don't fool yourself into thinking you need to have all your shit together because you don't. I spent way too much time stressing and feeling depressed during my first year of uni. Don't get me wrong, getting good grades is a fantastic feeling, but there is absolutely no point beating yourself up over one crappy mark. University life is a time to experiment, to think and to meditate, to come of age and grow up in your own time. To drink and be merry, to form relationships that may last a lifetime or just a night. To realise that leaving assignments to the last minute or finishing them on time, or cramming for that pivotal exam in contrast to studying bit by bit for weeks beforehand, is not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. It's a time to realise who you are, to discover what works for you. I came to Massey believing I knew exactly what this world was about, thinking I knew exactly who I was and who I was to become, but I'm leaving an entirely different person. I openly admit to the fact that I was completely naive when I moved to Wellington. I remember my first day on campus, my hair pulled back in a low ponytail with no makeup on, in floral doc martens and a secondhand cardigan; a militant vegetarian with a chip on her shoulder, stomping from lecture hall to classroom, barely stopping to smell the gardenias, determined to finish uni and get the hell out of New Zealand. Not that there is anything wrong with ponytails or docs or makeup or vegetarianism (you do you home skillet), but compared to that eighteen-year-old who struggled to make friends and managed to offend just about everyone she talked too, I like to think I'm an entirely different person. Let's be honest though, my love for cheese scones has never waned and I still manage to put my foot in it with just about everyone (sorry fam). I'm still the same old clusterfuck of emotions and hormones and everything in between, just a more confident, new and improved version with a more optimistic attitude towards life. Uni does that to you.

I wish I could explain to each and every one of you how different you'll be by the time you graduate, but to be honest it'll happen so slowly you'll barely notice. For me, I was returning home from a late shift with my flatmate sometime over the summer. Far from being even remotely tired, we sat on the roof till 6am drinking tea and talking shit, and watching the sky slowly turn from a dark navy to lilac, to that beautiful clear blue New Zealand is so famous for. I fell asleep on that roof, waking only to my flatmate coming out of the shower asking me if we should get breakfast at the local maccas. I looked around, still drowsy from my nap, and the sky was light and the air smelt sweet, like summer, but also vaguely like the tobacco my flatmate had been smoking. The world was just waking up, quiet and peaceful; the birds were just starting to chirp their morning song, but there weren't any cars on the road yet. A lone runner padded slowly past our flat, and somewhere a cat meowed. I don't know what it was about that moment, but it keeps coming back to me. I guess I felt completely content. In that minute between night and day, like those first few seconds when you wake, where your bedroom is still hazy and dreamlike with sleep; the moment between zoning out and coming back to your senses, the seconds before lips meet. Electric. I guess what I'm trying to say is that however lost or nervous or anxious you are feeling right now, you will meet people, you will find a job, you will finish uni. Happiness has a funny way of creeping up on you. No matter how ill-fated or undetermined the future seems, no matter how blind you feel, everything is going to be a-okay. Take it from someone that has been there, done that. I can't even tell you how many nights I kept myself awake stressing over whether or not I was throwing my life away. Trust me, you're gonna be just fine.

So to all of you finishing uni, congratulations and welcome to real life. To everyone just starting, make sure you stop and smell those gardenias. To all you second years, you're halfway so keep smiling. To all you third years, not long to go now so hang in there.

Peace out coca xx

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  1. Wow, this is awesome. I needed to read this! You write wonderfully xx


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