One year ago (May 15, 2010), I graduated from Mercer University. Since then, I’ve been doing something novel: experiencing life as something other than a student. Before graduating, I had spent 16 years in school which, though slightly less than most of my peers, is still the majority of my life.
It’s been very nice to be free of obligations like classes, homework, practicing everyday, and guilt about not performing any of the above in a perfect fashion. But, I kind of miss the rhythm of school. Particularly the Christmas and Summer Breaks aspect. I kind of miss going to class too. But only the interesting ones.
Sometimes I try to explain the American university system to people, and why it’s so expensive, except about scholarships, and it just makes me frustrated. Particularly when it’s European people talking about how their protested the rise in tuition from “free” to “practically free.” And then I remember how I get to pay off student loans for probably the rest of my life. sigh.
What have I done in my year out?
- I hung out in Macon and enjoyed the last sweet moments of my life as a Southerner.
- I took a transcontinental train ride from Atlanta to Denver.
- In fact, I’ve logged far more train hours this year than any other coming out with about 116 hours.
- I moved to China
- I’ve made acquaintances with way over a thousand Chinese people (those middle schoolers in Gansu are tipping the scales pretty heavily), and good friends with a number significantly less than that.
- I joined an orchestra in Beijing, and continue my role as a second oboist (of the first class!)
- I’ve traveled around in a country where I barely know the language, from east to west, and soon from north to south (sort of, not really alllll the way in any direction but whatever)
- I’ve grown as a person? I guess so. Probably
- I got to see my brother get married, and a lot of my extended family back in November. That was awesome
- I got nominated to the Peace Corps, but I still don’t know where I’m going to be going. So… yeah.
- My hair has grown about six or seven inches and is now properly “long”
As awesome and strange and wild and beautiful as this year has been, I’m pretty excited for July when I get to see my family again!
Oh, and congratulations to all the fresh 2011 Mercer graduates! win!