By: JIM IRIZARRY
I am not very good at goodbyes. The headline up top should have told you.
Given how many times I’ve had to say goodbye over my life, whether professionally or personally, forced or unforced, one would think that I could have figured something out by now. Guess not.
What makes this goodbye a little different than past goodbyes are that with this one, it’s time. I’ve had this circled on the calendar for some time, and I’m excited to get past this date. I’m excited about what life holds after this semester and after graduation. (reaches for wood, knocks on it) I’m not sad about it; I’m excited about this goodbye.
For the first time in my 38 years (sweet God, am I old), I’m excited to finally grow up. That’s what that fancy piece of paper means. It means you are now ready to head out and take on life and all its challenges. After three-and-a-half years here at IU South Bend, I’m ready to achieve the goal of getting my degree.
Was the path to my degree conventional? No. No, not at all, but without places like IUSB, it probably would have been a lot harder. This place is made for non-traditional students who want to further their education while also having to deal with work and families. That alone makes it commendable. Add in the professors and the quality of education that you get, and this place has been great to me. Just know that if you must take some time away from school, this place will help you get back into it quickly.
The big question, of course, is, “What comes now?” I’ve asked plenty of people around here that question. Some have said “GRAD SCHOOL! DO IT!!” I’ve replied with varying, expletive-laden versions of, “Are you crazy?”, and, “Are you paying for it?” As good as a master’s would look on my resume, it would also price me out of every job that I will apply for in my chosen field in the future. No thanks. I’ve got rent to pay.
Of everything that I look forward to doing soon, reading a book for enjoyment is at the top of my list. Over the last year, I’ve bought books that I intended to read for enjoyment. How many have I read? Zero. That will change sometime after New Year’s Day. I’ll be damned if I’m picking up another book this year. And yes, I know how contradictory this paragraph is.
I know marriage is on the horizon at some point, both my own and possibly others. My fiancé would probably enjoy making some plans for our big day. I know she has a Pinterest page filled with all sorts of ideas that I will seem disinterested in. At the same time, if you’re looking for someone who can make your wedding ceremony both entertaining and legal, look me up. Thanks to the Universal Life Church, I have minister credentials and a fancy-looking badge that says “clergy” on it in gold paint. I should look into whether they have a clergy badge for my car. I think that puts me closer to the door at various local supermarkets.
Moving to a different locale is probably on the horizon. No offense to you, South Bend. I just don’t think I have another year of crazy South Bend lake effect weather in me. It’s in the mid-50s the week after Thanksgiving. It’s in the mid-50s at Memorial Day after being in the mid-80s the week before. My sinuses cannot handle it anymore. Plus, I need to live somewhere with a White Castle closer to my house than three counties over.
I think that’s all I have for you, IUSB. Let’s make the last three weeks quick and painless. Thanks for everything you’ve given me.