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Friends and...

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May. 7th, 2004 | 06:30 pm
mood: nostalgicnostalgic
music: Title: The Way * Artist: Clay Aiken

I never really watched Friends growing up. I knew it was there and watched it enough times to kind of know who the characters were and who was with whom, but it wasn't a fixture in my life.

Odd that I should be so affected by tonight's final episode.

My roommates and I watched it together last night, and it sent us all into this wave of nostalgia -- we yelled at the TV for Ross and Rachel to get together, we were totally stunned when she left after Ross said he loved her and she got on the plane anyway and we smiled silly smiles when she realized that hey, she really does love him and she decides to stay because they are Ross and Rachel and that's how things should be.

And at the end of this episode, we all found ourselves on this tremendous wave of nostalgia. We've lived together through three years now -- they've seen me at my best and at my worst, when boys made me deliriously happy and desperately sad. We've been sober together and drunk together, sung together, laughed together, cried together... and done a lot of bitching about boys and school and well, mostly boys.

Then, one of my best friends said a very profound thing. "This doesn't feel like a great new beginning," she said simply and I realized that yes, that's exactly what makes this feel so strange and so sad. High school was easy to say goodbye to because there were so many parties and plans for reunions and this knowledge that we'd end up seeing people again because we all had family in the same place, so things felt a lot less permanent. Plus we were moving on to this great phase of our life where we'd meet new people and try new things. We'd live without our parents, without curfews. Yes, there would be studying and learning, but we would have all sorts of brand new experiences that we would be sharing people who were having the same brand new experiences that we were.

College is ending and we're moving out of this safe cocoon where we may have had some real world problems, but we haven't been living in the real world, not yet. Our lives are populated by friends and extracurriculars and classes and yes, some work. But it's not the real world by any stretch of the imagination.

Now we're moving into the real world (even graduate school is unlike college, and that's more distanced from the real world than many of my friends will be) and somehow it seems a scary place. Graduation feels like an end and not a beginning -- as we take our first steps into the real world, we say goodbye to sleeping in, skipping class when we felt like it, and three day weekends. We also say goodbye to hours of homework and this mode of rigid, structured education that has been such a constant for the past sixteen years of our lives. There really is this overwhelming sense of graduation being an end of an era.

It's funny to think that I'm graduating in less than a week and parts of me still haven't recognized that I'm a college student. I remember watching television when I was in middle school and high school and thinking that the college kids all seemed so old and that college seemed so distant. Now I find myself in that moment of realization that college has been my existence for the past four years; that moment in which it dawns on me that I have really spent four years already living in dorms, with roommates and an incredibly fast internet connection. It's gone very fast.

I don't think I'm quite ready for it all to end.

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