Despite being rather insistant than I'd rather be shot in the face than have to sit through graduation, I realized tonight that missing it is robbing me of something I've overlooked: the goodbyes.
While sitting in the June sun, watching 500 people I don't know walk up and shake a drunk collge president's hand while wearing the most absurd clothing known to modern man is clearly not a situation I'd gladly sign myself up for, I'd forgotten that the formal ceremony would be not only my last chance to see some people who were a big part of the latest chapter of my life, but also an excuse to let myself cry a little.
I'm not the sentimental type, not really, but it struck me rather hard tonight that I will probably never see some of my college acquaintences and friends ever again. I went to the bar, as per usual on a Thursday night, with the usual crowd, but when I left, I knew it was for the last time, for real.
I will miss college and I will miss the people who I now realize I took for granted. My buddy Nicky D, who somehow always managed to earn the title of "friend" despite the fact that we only really hung out a handful of times during the last four years. The wily Bug, whose molestations weren't necessarily welcome, but always made me feel included. Monk, who was always around, always friendly, and always hilarious. Even Paige, who I never particularly liked due to one of my first encounters with her, but was a part of my life nevertheless. These are people who made up the landscape of my college experience, who I will not necessarily attempt to stay in contact with, and will assumedly never see again except for the odd reunion-esque get together.
There were no false promises of staying in touch. I told Nick it was a pleasue mostly being friends, gave some hugs, and waved rather casually, and that was that. We're all going on to a wide variety of things, all of which can be deemed "the real world". We will get jobs, have families or new groups of friends who seem like a family, get old, break hips, and eventually die. For most of the people I knew at NCC, all of this will happen without my notice and right now, not being afforded a formal, official goodbye, is weighing rather heavily on my heart.
The end of an era is scariest, I think, when you see it coming.
And so, my friends at NCC, I will miss you. Thank you for being a part of the last 3 years of my life. Thank you for making me feel like I belonged. Thank you for laughing with me, gossiping with me, and learning alongside me. I wish you the best, really.