Courtesy of Zoë Jones

By the time your eyes are reading this, I hope to have a job. I hope to be settled and content with the fact that I will never have another first day of school again.

Graduating is not at all what I expected it to be. Everything feels slightly anticlimactic and staged because it all is. You think about everything in terms of ‘first’ and ‘last,’ and every single interaction feels like it holds importance.

I am scared. I have no idea where I’ll be in the next year, who I’ll be living with or what city I’ll choose to settle down in.

Our whole lives we’re expected to plan everything out up to this point and then — just see where things take us. I don’t know how that works: being tied so tight to structure and expectations, and then just letting them all go.

There are so many things that I’ll miss about going to school in Santa Barbara. I’ll miss taking the bus to State Street when I didn’t have the money for Uber, going to brunch at Cajé, studying in the windy heat and riding my bike while the sun is beginning to peek from behind the clouds. I loved it all.

Most of all, without a doubt, I will miss the Daily Nexus and its staff. Our smelly refrigerator, our trips to the convenience store on campus for snacks and our laughs that reverberated from those old walls. I’ve been a part of the Nexus from the beginning — and it has been a part of me since then, too.

College is not nice to your mind or your body, but I don’t think it takes someone special to get through it. I think it takes something small and special in your experience to come out on the other side, having grown and standing tall as a better person.

When new writers joined Artsweek, I always told them about how I walked into our office beneath Storke Tower my freshman year, demanding to be pointed toward where I could write about music. I’ve practically lived beneath Storke since then, taking naps and dreading class time with some of my closest friends. I got to write about music and then some. I was able to lead, to guide my writers’ visions in the context of this campus. I was able to give people the ability to write words that will never cease to exist. I am so very grateful for this.

The way I’m writing right now is the way that the story of these past four years has happened: fragmented, sometimes sentimental, long. Sometimes painful, too. I struggled and I will not keep that to myself. Anxiety and depression are terrible things to go through while in college, but I am not only anxious and depressed, I am proud. I have been through so much during my time here, and I still made it. I am proud of not only my trauma but my growth.

I wrote a lot of stories in one go, I missed deadlines, I neglected emails, but I grew and I wrote, and I added many more people to the list of those that I love.

This story came out in pieces: on planes and trains, on lonely nights when my housemates were gone, and I tried to teach myself how to enjoy being alone. On days I was running late for class, 10 minutes to go and my towel was still wrapped around me. Damp, like my eyes are right now. And music was there for it all.

I cried to songs, I fell in love with them while I biked, and I showed them to boys I will never see again.

I am so proud of the words that I wrote during my time at the Nexus. I will always cherish my time as an Artsweek Editor. This was all a part of my growth: a larger story that these four years are wrapped up in. Yes, the next few months of my life will be an adjustment. But I will always have my friends, these words and the music.

Print