I knew this feeling would come eventually. That’s why I saved my Europe trip until the beginning of September, so as to curb this feeling.

Throughout my twenty-two years, I’ve always dreaded the return of school, like any other kid. When I was in elementary school, it was a dread of having to get up early in the morning. When I was in high school, it was a sadness of the summer ending, and having to get up early in the morning. And in college, it was at first a fear of homesickness, a fear that went away after a year, but then turned into a fear of endings. Oh and, a dread of getting up early in the morning.

I’m at the end now, at least for this year, and it’s so very strange that I’m surrounded by people still in school, envying them. See, I’ve never been popular or “cool.” I never cared that I was either of those things, but acknowledging that I wasn’t those things and that instead, I was known as the “smart kid,” that my whole perceivable identity to others was as an academically focused, intelligent person. I accepted that and I’ve grown to love that. But now, when that part of my life is over, I find myself a bit lost, confused, and sad.

I’m definitely one for nostalgia, which is why it’s hard to accept that I’m no longer a student. It’s hard for to me close chapters of my life because I’m so uncomfortable with the unknown. And so, as I see friends talk about going to class or sharing their book lists for the semester, I miss being in lecture halls, listening to said lectures, reading in my dorm room, being a student.

I tell myself that that part of my life is over, and when I do so, I feel better because it’s just a bunch of nostalgic longings. I tell myself that in eight days, I will be flying to Europe for the month instead of having to do homework. I remember the feelings of general ideas fondly, but I don’t miss or remember the stress and work of that life. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but because I don’t remember all the hard work I put into those years and years of schooling that ultimately led to me graduating from Columbia, so much work that I was known as the “smartest person” people knew or that “smart kid,” I want it back so much. But I don’t. I really don’t. I want more than anything to be comfortable again, but that doesn’t mean wanting to be a nervous eighteen year old again. It can mean, and does mean, a myriad of different things, things that will soon become clear to me, things like graduate school or pursuing this editorial stuff.

But it’s still a feeling I have and one I’ll have up until I leave for Europe. I deal with it in a variety of ways. Last night, it was driving around Petaluma at night singing Katy Perry’s “Roar.” Right now, as many breaks were had writing this blog, it was dancing and clapping to Cold War Kids’ “Audience.” But the best approach is definitely just writing about it here, sharing it. Because I’m not the only one who is confused in navigating the post-grad life, especially around this time, the start of a new school year.

Two Door Cinema Club’s “Changing of the Seasons” sums it up nicely, albeit a little more harshly than I would put it. So it’s over, I didn’t realize or Could be the changing of the seasons, but I don’t love you anymore seem quite fitting. The end isn’t the end until you actually feel that it’s the end; in May, I didn’t register the end, but in late August, I did. And the end is notorious for misplaced feelings, as cruel nostalgia makes you think you miss or love something more than you actually did.

So, yes, it’s over and I didn’t realize it all.

I miss what was, but I’m of those now graduated students, because that identity-the student, students—isn’t confined to that one cozy lecture room with the oak chairs you miss so badly.

It’s more than that and I’d like to think it’s forever.