amazing photo by the very talented Moyo Oyelola
Evelyn originally asked me to write a “I’m about to graduate” post, but I hope she accepts this “I just graduated” post.
Why didn’t I write a “I’m about to graduate” post? Because I couldn’t.
The week before graduation was a roller coaster ride, carrying me through a rush of excitement and emotions that led me to buy a $218 dress* (yes that’s how much the dress cost, Evelyn. And don’t worry guys, I returned it) to a fearful numbness that made me literally incapable of doing anything for periods of time and made me feel like I was constantly near tears. My feelings about graduation changed so much from hour to hour, that trying to sit down and write it all down was impossible.
I’d spent the month before graduation in a calm acceptance with some mild excitement. And then suddenly it hit me one fateful night as I was once again responding to the question “what are your plans after graduation?” with “I plan to work over the summer and I’m applying to teach English in Korea in the fall.”
Wait, what, Doyin? Work over the summer? I have nothing lined up, because I haven’t applied anywhere. Applying to teach in Korea? I’ve let my sudden fear of rejection get in the way of me completing my application.
While my friends are fielding work offers from Yelp, moving to Arizona, applying to work at magazines, moving to San Francisco, and actually APPLYING and getting accepted into teaching programs in other countries, I’m… here.
But you know what, that’s OK. And it’s also not.
As Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics said at my graduation, “Be honest about your faults. And then fix them.” (Or something like such as, I have a horrible memory.)
See the problem with me is that I tend to do a lot of talking and not enough walking.
I’d been talking about my plans forever and had done very little to make them a reality. Meanwhile my friends just did the darn thing. But even now as I realize that we all travel at different paces and at different directions, I have to be honest with myself and say I don’t like where I am right now. I only have me to blame for that and only I can get myself out of it.
So while I’m not going to beat myself up for not having something lined up immediately, I’m also not going to let myself continue to slack off. I’d decided to give myself the summer, just this summer to not do anything. But by the fall, I better have something figured out.
Robert Gates, who used to serve as the US Secretary of Defense and is not Bill Gates’ brother quoted Katharine Hepburn during his speech at the UT-wide commencement on Saturday night:
“Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.”
P.S. I realize this post is really just more “talk,” but I mean what I say. Keep me accountable, folks.
*You can see me holding the dress in question and having a kind of sort of freak out about it in Evelyn’s video.