The following is inspired by an essay I read from a student, Marina Keegan, who graduated from Yale and tragically passed away a few days later. Her essay, The Opposite of Loneliness, clearly depicts the way I feel about leaving Humboldt State University.
I remember the day I first came to Arcata, it was the weekend right before school begun.
I walked into Humboldt State scared and I leave Humboldt State scared. I was scared coming in because I didn’t know if I was making the right choice and now I’m scared because I feel that I made the right choice. I’m scared that maybe I don’t have all the knowledge I need to pursue my passion of making a difference in people’s lives.
I’m scared to leave this community we have here as students. A group of people that give us a sense of belonging because in this community we are in it together. We understand each other. We understand our struggles. Our struggles of being students. Our struggle in trying to figure out the rest of our lives. We understand our insecurities. Our insecurity of not knowing if we have made the right career choice. The insecurity of where do we go from here after we graduate.
But for those of us who do feel this way, it is not fair to put this kind of stress on ourselves. I remember that right before leaving Southern California, I was scared because I didn’t know if I was making the right choice and I was scared to leave my community, my group of friends which I shared so many things in common. Scared as I was, I made the choice to leave that community and here in Arcata I found a new community. I’ve kept in touch with some friends within that community that I left and others, I only talk to when I visit.
Leaving Arcata doesn’t mean leaving my community. Physically? yes I am. But I do hope to keep in touch with those that have made a difference in my life as well as those who I have made an impact on. I leave Humboldt State scared to enter the “real world” just as scared. But I won’t let that stress fool me. For in the real world, I will find a new community where we are in it together. In our struggles and in our insecurities.
It is easy for life to get in the way sometimes. I hope that for us who do have that hope to inspire others and the belief that some of us have that we indeed can make a difference in this lifetime, that we don’t forget that feeling. The hope, the faith and the belief that there are so many things that are possible. That even though life does get in the way, I hope that we keep sight of that hope, faith and belief.
Governor Stevenson (Illinois: 1949-1953) said it well to graduating students. And I repeat it here. After we throw our caps in the air, as we take those final steps out of HSU as graduates, after all the graduation celebrations, and even after life gets in the way: “when you leave here, don’t forget why you came.”