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Musings of an almost-graduate

Tomorrow will be my last day as a University of Jordan student. I’ll walk in, take a test, and walk out a freaking graduate.

Freaking graduation

I’m not really that excited about it and I’m beginning to wonder if I really get the significance of this final day as a BA student. After four years of going to classes I hated, wading through literal unwashed masses to get around campus, being forced to enter bathrooms with horrors so unfathomable that I can’t even put them into words, and praying on floors that ALWAYS smelled like feet, I am finally free of the University of Jordan. I did my time and am finally getting my diploma. But instead of feeling the expected rush of relief, all I can think about is how hot it’s going to be tomorrow and that I’m going to have to face major traffic to get to a 4 p.m. exam.

I mean, I’m happy that there’s probably going to be plenty of parking at 4 p.m. But I have a feeling that’s not supposed to be what I’m happy about.

I know that part of the problem is that, while this may be my last exam at JU (or UJ… four years and I’m still not sure which), it is NOT my last exam ever. In a month or so, I’m off the states for a year to study journalism. Knowing I’m still going to have another year of papers to write and exams to take kind of dulls the thrill of finishing up this degree. Another thing, which I’m a little ashamed to admit, is that I haven’t really worked that hard as a literature student. I didn’t cut corners; I read what I was assigned to read, whether I loved it or hated it. But, with or without literature classes, I would have been reading. It doesn’t feel like much of an achievement to spend four years doing something you probably would have done anyway.

But while I would never recommend for anyone to study English literature at JU (it just sounds better than UJ), I enjoyed it. I had fun talking about everything with a bunch of strangers (one of whom eventually became a friend) in my oral skills class. I had an epiphany reading Where Angels Fear to Tread for my first novel course, and a blast working on a group project on The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf for my second one. I read a lot of poems, which I had never really been into before, and a lot of short stories, which I used to actively hate. I even recently wrote a short story of my own and, for the first time in my life, read my own work aloud in front of an audience. I’m even kind of glad I was forced to read all of those classical Arabic poems about war and horses during my freshman year.

That last statement can be attributed to graduation goggles*

I guess what I’m saying is, despite the university’s best efforts, I actually learned a lot during my four years at JU (yeah, JU). I never was in love with the place but I will miss it. It’s where I let go of who I was in high school and grew into a full-fledged person. It’s hard to really track changes in your own personality, but I can feel the difference when I run into people from school that I haven’t seen in a while.  I’m not a different person, but I am different. Maybe I’m just a little older… but it’s good to feel my age for once.

So tomorrow I will walk in, take a test, and walk out a graduate. Soon there’ll be a robe and then a diploma to prove it. It’s ironic that I’ve had to read so many books just for one piece of paper… But of course that’s the kind of thing I notice. I’m a literature student. Well, at least until 4 p.m. tomorrow I am.

*For those of you who aren’t obsessed with How I Met Your Mother: http://how-i-met-your-mother.wikia.com/wiki/Graduation_Goggles

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