September has always been a time of change — changing seasons, changing leaves, changing temperatures, changing grades, and changing schools. The leaves take on a jewel-like hue, and the wind carries a slight edge as it blows. School buses are once again on the streets, carrying children with backpacks and bagged lunches.
This September is a time of change for me, as well. For the first time in my memory, I will not be among the ranks of students going back to school.
I never realized how much I relied on the regularity of going back to school. Though I went back in September, my routine really began a few months earlier, in June. As the weather grew warmer, it became increasingly harder to pay attention in class. Tempting rays of sun shone through the classroom window, and a light breeze rustled the blinds. I watched with anticipation as the clock ticked away the time I still had to wait, until finally the bell rang.
Summer was filled with long, leisurely days. I sat outside with a book and a snack, relishing every hour of free time. Even as I began to take on jobs, it felt like those days would never end. Summer has a timeless feeling.
School always arrived too quickly. In the days leading up to it, I went shopping for pencils, paper, and a new outfit.
The first days back carried a confusing mixture of emotions. I felt excited to see my friends, but reluctantly resigned myself to classes. I was worried it would be hard to find my classes, and that I would have no friends in them.
My feelings intensified before my first year of university. I was attending school on the other side of the country, in New Brunswick. I knew no one. I had never even been there before. I had no idea what to expect of university. Would my classes be hard? Would my roommate like me?
I said goodbye to my parents after unpacking my life from two suitcases. I didn’t know what to do. Campus was full of activity, but I was too shy to introduce myself to someone I didn’t know. I went back to my room, where I had met my roommate a few minutes before.
I stuck like glue to her in my first few weeks. Eventually, I made more friends, and settled into a new pattern of living. I got used to my protected, idyllic life on campus.
I loved university. I loved my classes, which were mercifully free of math, and which encouraged discussion. I loved the rhythm of my days, which flowed naturally from classes, to meals, to classwork. I loved the campus itself, which surrounded me with red bricks, white pillars, and ivy.
More than anything, I loved the friends I made. I lived in an all-girls residence with all of them. If I needed anything, be it clothes or a study buddy, they were right down the hall.
After four years in university, campus didn’t just feel like home — it was my home. I knew every corner of every building. I had heard every campus ghost story. I had tasted the cafeteria’s entire menu.
It’s all over now. I said goodbye to that life at my convocation May 13. I walked across a stage to accept a symbolic scroll. I posed for photos with my friends at our favourite places around campus. Finally, I handed in my black gown and sash, and received my degree.
I had been able to ignore it over the summer, but I can’t ignore it anymore. I am no longer a student. I am settling into my new life now, going through a transition period not unlike the one I experienced before I started university. Yes, September is a time of change. As one period of my life has ended, a new one is beginning. This new life is uncertain and unprotected. It’s filled with realities I hadn’t thought about before. I don’t know what will happen in this new life, but looking back at all the changes I’ve handled, I’m not worried.