Well… It’s over. I graduated college. And yeah, I’m not done with school forever (I’m heading to NYU in the fall to get my masters in Publishing: Digital and Print Media), but no more taking classes at IC for me (and no more ICC for me either!!!!)! Hooray! I’m not going to see the same people every day– the fellow students and friends and faculty in the community that I’ve come to love (and tolerate and deal with), and that’s both okay and not okay.
The past few weeks have been a blur. I’ve tried to get in quality time with the people that matter to me, but it’s been hard with graduation inching closer and closer. My friend Marisa, whether she realizes it or not, kept saying “This is the last time we…” at the beginning of a lot of her sentences, and I refused to accept that fact. I still refuse to accept it. I knew that all of this was going to end eventually.
What does it mean for all of this to end, anyway? I’m glad that there are some people I won’t have to see or deal with, maybe ever again (except on social media). So that’ll be the end of that, I guess. Regarding people who you don’t have great relationships with, my dad always says that you have to make them matter less. So they’ll matter less because I won’t have to see them ever again at all. (!)
On a somewhat different note, they say that you need at least one Ithaca summer. So I’m here til August, working at The Ithaca Times. And maybe that’s part of the reason why I haven’t accepted that I graduated from IC. I’m still here, even if a lot of people aren’t. It just doesn’t feel like it ended. There are people I know who are also staying for the summer. People will still be coming back in the fall, even if I’m leaving. Kids just keep cycling through. College is still happening, even if I don’t go here.
There are a lot of people that graduated with a lot of ????????? feelings, meaning they don’t know what they’re doing next, whether that means getting a job or going to grad school or what. And that’s fine! It’s okay to not know! It’s okay to still be figuring things out!
I’m graduating with more !!!!!!!!!!!!!! feelings. I’m lucky to have a plan and set things for me to figure out in the coming months, and to have people to support and help me through it. But it’s still scary that I won’t be coming back to school here in the fall. It’s scary that things are a little uncertain, even if I have a plan.
I remember how much I used to hate it here. I’ve been looking back at my reflections from when I was a freshman and from when I was a sophomore. Freshman year I was sad and alone. I had a boyfriend who lived in Buffalo, and I thought that was all I needed. But it turned out to not be enough. I had 3 great friends, and then I didn’t (my own fault). (We’re all on good terms now, which I am grateful for.) I left Ithaca without really anybody. I forced myself to figure out who I was without my boyfriend and without anyone else. I was not excited to come back in the fall, I was on the verge of transferring…
But I came back to give it a second chance. My dad always says that people need second chances, and so did Ithaca. I remember going to the A&E Center to pick up my keys to my new dorm room in August of 2014 and running into Sam Brodsky, who I knew from Intro to Poetry. She was a person I greeted with a hug and a smile, and someone who was actually happy to see me. She was a friend. And that’s why I decided to stay. That’s why I made my goal for sophomore year Amanda makes friends.
Thank you Sam, for being my friend all four years. Thank you for listening to me cry and for reading my writing and for being my person. Thank you for being a deciding factor in me staying.
That year I met and became friends with a lot of people, who I almost named here but decided against. All of these people who– some who aren’t in my life anymore, some who still are, some who I’m close with and some who I’m not, some who I can wave at in the hallway and smile at, are the reasons I stayed. My sophomore year was probably the best year of my college experience. I made friends, I lost friends, but I found a place where I belonged, more or less. Sophomore year is when Ithaca became home.
I didn’t write a reflection post-junior year because I was afraid. This is the hardest thing for me to write about because I’m still kind of afraid– of people brushing off my feelings and what I write about because they don’t like me. I’m afraid of people making judgments about what I have to say and about me because they don’t like me. But honestly– that’s dumb. I shouldn’t care about what people think of me. And this is my space to say what I think.
Last year I was in a not-so-great relationship with a boy, and that boy came with a lot of baggage. I lost a lot of friends because I made the decision to be with him. I received mean, anonymous messages on Tumblr– I even got a death threat. I was ostracized from a lot of people. I felt uncomfortable in Ithaca. I felt like I didn’t matter. I made myself small and take up less space in the world so I couldn’t hurt or bother anybody that I had hurt by being in a relationship with him. I stopped writing. And no matter how much I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t, I was really unhappy in that relationship and with myself. The only people that could see it were my friends who tried to warn me. Sabina tried to do something about it, but I wouldn’t listen to her.
The summer after junior year I had so much anxiety about my relationship with this boy and maintaining my relationship with this boy that I developed a sort of eating disorder. I was playing a hunger game with myself. I lost so much weight that my clothes didn’t fit. I was so hungry all the time I could barely concentrate. I stopped brushing my teeth. I stopped taking my medication. My trichotillomania started acting up again, and my obsessive compulsive disorder became harder and harder to handle. I didn’t put on makeup for work. I stopped hanging out with my friends. I didn’t care about myself, and this boy didn’t really act like he did either.
Eventually we broke up, but enough damage had been caused by my relationship with him that it affected my relationships and friendships with other people in Ithaca. And that is what hurt the most. It made Ithaca less of a home for me. Sabina said to me on the last night I saw her (she’s going to Europe for a while post-grad) that our friendship hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it, which meant so much to me that I cried in the middle of Moonie’s.
Coming into senior year trying to deal with the repercussions of my relationship with this boy was really hard. People still don’t like me because I dated him. I hurt people because I dated him. And for that I am genuinely sorry. It was selfish of me, but I got hurt in my relationship with him too. This is something that I’ve wanted to write for a very long time, and now I feel like I can put it out there. I’m saying this because I want people to understand it was hard for me, and that I’m sorry.
Senior year was a year of recovery. It was a year of growing and moving on. It was a year of finding somewhere that I belonged. It was a year of not giving a shit about what other people think of me, or at least to a lesser degree. It was about doing my best and living my life for myself and my future, not anyone else.
I’ve always struggled with the concept of home. I didn’t feel like my mom’s house was home when I lived there. I don’t feel like my dad’s house is home anymore, not that I ever really did. My freshman year I lived alone in a single room and I hated it. My sophomore year my roommate and I didn’t get along. My junior year roommates and I struggled with keeping the status quo in our apartment.
This year, in my house on Hudson Street, I found a group of people that I could have fun with and be myself with– a group of people who were truly supportive and kind and who gave me a place that was mine. They made Ithaca feel like home for me, and for that I am grateful too. Thank you, Alexa, Kaitlin, Dom, Evan, Luke Waldner. Thank you thank you thank you.
I found a home in IC Women in Communications– this semester I had the honor and privilege of being president of a group that I’ve been a part of for all four years of school. WIC has always meant so much to me (how many times have I written about it on this blog?). My e-board and general body members have always been so supportive– WIC is a club dedicated to professionalism and women in communications, but we were also friends, and we became really close. WIC helped me find a sense of belonging here, and for that I am also grateful. Thank you to my Spring 2017 e-board– Lexy, Allie, Natalie, Kiersten, Madi, Emma– for lending an ear and a hug when I needed it this semester.
I think that what I’ve looked for all four years of college is a place where I belonged. I wanted people to like me and want to spend time with me. I wanted friends. I wanted people who would listen to me and who I could trust with myself. I wanted a place that felt like I was supposed to be there. It took me a really long time to find all that and figure myself out in terms of that, but I found it here in Ithaca and I’m not ready for it to be over.
In August I move to New York with Siena to attend NYU and I have to figure out where I belong all over again. That is what these !!!!!!!!!!! feelings are. They’re about finding a place and finding people and finding what I’m all about somewhere else. I will be under construction in New York instead of Ithaca, and I’m scared.
Right now I am lucky to have found my voice again. I’m happy I can be honest with myself and with everyone else on here. I graduated college. We’ll see how everything else goes.