Graduation is in full swing up here at the University this week. In fact, it seems that all the Universities banded together and decided that June 13th-17th would be the perfect time for matriculation. In a display of solidarity for universal academia, the caps and gowns have been wandering the green lawns and cobblestones, searching for a final farewell to the hallowed halls of this institution. Many of my friends graduate this week, at various Universities across the province. I’m very proud of my friends, but I can’t help thinking that if I hadn’t taken a year off to recover, I would be joining the ranks of the summa cum laude among them.
However, I am not. I still have another year of hitting the undergraduate books. I’m both happy and sad about that fact, to be honest. The University I attended for my first two years of study is a giant blur in my memory- a smudge on my life story, an incoherant misfortune of epic proportions. I didn’t get involved in any way other than with the gym’s grungy old treadmill, I barely made any friends other than the squirrel that lived in the wall of my apartment and the grocery checkout girl who asked me why I was crying. In short, ED and I lived in marital bliss during my first two years of University.
Resultantly, I made a big effort to do everything completely differently after my transfer. I refused to stress overmuch about assignments and exams, I made eye contact with people on campus, I reached out to friends when I needed to, I lived at home rather than on my own, and I did many things other than academics, nurturing my passions along the way. The year flew by, the grades stayed up, and my head, my heart and my body stayed healthy and happy.
While the year in between has been discussed ad nauseum on this blog, as has my appreciation for what treatment and recover mean for the manuscript of my life (not smudge free, but more gently handled, less dog-eared). If you look at it objectively, the year off set me back one year in terms of academics. If you delve under the surface however, what I gained from the year in terms of personal growth is immeasurable. You don’t graduate from recovery wearing a cap and gown, but you earn your stripes nonetheless.
So no, I’m not graduating with the other 22 year olds in my life. But I know that when I do, it will be in a healthy place- a place of security in the knowledge that I am going somewhere great, no matter where that is. Knowledge that surpasses that which one can read about in 200$ textbooks, though with a fair amount of useless and useful knowledge of that ilk as well.
And when the time comes, I’ll cross the stage with a smile on my face.