sad grad

I have come to the carefully considered conclusion that I do not want to graduate. Which sucks, because I'm not going to have a say in the matter in less than two weeks.

I already know I'll be coming back for graduate school, but I don't want to have to leave and come back at all. I just want to stay here, because for once, I'm actually happy and the thought of going "home" to Terabil makes me want to crawl under the covers and never come out.

It seems like just when I have things going well, when I seem to be doing things right-- I'm in a city I like, doing well in my art and my classes, surrounded by people I care about-- I'm just expected to drop it all and "start a life in the real world."

You know what? Fuck the "real world." I like the world I'm already in.

I keep getting asked what I'll be doing after graduation and frankly, I wish the hell I knew. I've had so much work this quarter I haven't been able to do more than a cursory job search, and while there are a lot of things I'd want to do, I've seen my roommate doing enough job searches and cover letters to know how few of those jobs would probably want me.

What I do know is that I would rather have my fingernails ripped out with pliers than spend any significant amount of time in Terabil. Unfortunately my mom would rather I stayed at home while I looked for a job, which might take months. My grandmother has also offered to let me live with her while I look for jobs in her city, which to me sounds like a much more palatable option, but my mom insists that there won't be enough space for both of us (notwithstanding the fact that I've been living in an 18x12 dorm room with another person for the past four years, so I think I can deal with a house), and besides, there's this newspaper internship they found a classified ad for in the paper, and I can live at home! for free!

"Free" is a subjective term. If there's anything I've learned, it's that living with my family has its own very special costs.

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thus saith Liadan at 1:48 AM

4 Comments:

Blogger Fever Dog saith at 5/21/2007 10:42 AM...  

The real world sucks, avoid it at all costs.

Blogger marauder saith at 6/16/2007 4:25 PM...  

Hey,

It is, of course, none of my business, but I'd encourage you to stay with your grandmother since she has offered to let you stay there.

It's difficult to navigate the treacherous shoals of being an adult child, and it's even harder to do it without falling back on cliches like "treacherous shoals," but the truth is that you are an adult now, however much your parents might want to believe otherwise, and while you still owe your mother respect and some deference because she's your mother, you no longer should have to defer to her judgment on everything. You can correct me if I'm mistaken, but it sounds to me like your mom wants you close at hand so that she can maintain sufficient supervision and influence over you so that you "turn out right." But the thing is, you have turned out all right: You're an intelligent, creative, articulate and determined woman with a faith that's deep enough to have guided you through some turgid waters,and you have a solid moral compass to guide you.

Let's not kid one another: You didn't pick the name "Terabil" for your parents' city just because of its literary availability. Going back there forces you to turn ever inward, to deny who you are, and to become ever-more depressed about the world and ever-diminished in your sense of self. Willingly subjecting yourself to this is not what we generally consider to be a Good Thing.

Like you, I had no desire during college to return home, mostly because of severe dysfunction in my relationship with my mother. I was able my sophomore year to find work that gave me a reason to remain on campus during breaks both summer and winter, and when I returned from Haiti in 1994, I returned not to Level Green, Pa., but to Easton, where I had gone to college and joined a local church. My mother was hurt terribly by what she saw as my rejection of her, but honestly, to this date, I don't regret that decision. Out in Easton I was able to get myself established first as a teacher and then as a journalist, and eventually forged a sense of my own identity independent of my family of origin that my parents have come to respect, or at least to tolerate. (My mom admits she's a little less than thrilled that I'm a stay-at-home dad, and although she'll never admit it, I don't think she entirely approves of my wife either.)

Unpleasant as it may be in the short term, asserting your independence by living somewhere else -- even if it's with your grandmother -- and by finding your own job (as opposed to an internship at a newspaper ... and trust me what a waste THAT probably would be), is going to go a long way toward getting your parents to mature in their relationship with you and to come to terms with the unaddressed elephant in the room.

Blogger Brucker saith at 6/25/2007 11:08 AM...  

One of the many mantras I live by is "There's no such thing as free." I suspect your parents will take something out of you no matter where you live, though. I think parents raise you for "free" for 18-odd years and spend the rest of your life extracting repayment for it one way or another, not that they don't have some amount of right to do so, it's just that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to harvest what they've cultivated in you all these years.

You'll always be their child, but you're also an adult. That statement is ridiculously obvious, I know, but parents can sometimes forget it. (Heck, even I have to accept that I no longer have teenage friends online; they've all grown up and become crusty, cynical twenty-somethings.) You really can't go back home, not just because you aren't the person you were four years ago, but you never were the person your parents thought you were four years ago.

Of course, you can't hold onto your own past either. Grad school or no, eventually you're going to leave this part of your life behind, and you're more ready than you think. And this concludes your USRDA of cliches.

Blogger marauder saith at 6/25/2007 11:15 PM...  

Heck, even I have to accept that I no longer have teenage friends online; they've all grown up and become crusty, cynical twenty-somethings.

Who on earth are you talking about? No one we know has grown up THAT much.

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