Got home from my travels a little more than a month ago, and perhaps I’m still feeling somewhat drunk from the European air because I’ve barely even traveled out of my house in this past month. Reunions with friends and acquaintances bring up the inevitable question of “So, what have you been doing?” And for the first time in my life I can and do say “Nothing” with a gleeful smile. While my ease is not a facade, it is sometimes interrupted by moments of uncertainty, self-doubt, and the worst bedfellow of transitions: envy.
The past month has been the month of commencement, convocation, graduation, and happy people donned in their blue/black robes climbed all over my Facebook news feed. While scholars warn us against investing too much meaning into Facebook posts, and I am fully happy with my ungraduated status (with one more semester), I can’t help but feel a little left out of the excitement, like a train has just pulled out of the station and all I did was glimpse it.
Graduation is an interesting milestone, and it might not mean much to people apart from really great photos, but I think it is important. Learning is important. Mastering a discipline is important. Staying in one place and working hard enough are important. And I think the most important thing is transformation. I wonder how many people can truly say they have been transformed by their education?
I guess the truth is I’m not done in my process of seeking transformation. I still look for that moment of inspiration where we have a particularly good debate in class about the relationship between photography and the enlightenment, and I think to myself: yes, this is why I attend school. Or when we are pushed to think about the politics behind ordinary life, or how things come to mean what they mean, and who benefits from that, who suffers. I still hope to learn something, even the slightest of things, before learning suddenly stops becoming the ultimate goal.
At the same time, I am terribly excited to go on the job hunt. Friends have reminded me of course that it is exhausting and my excitement can run out very soon. I know that I haven’t really had much real-world experience, but I hope that I can prove to myself and to the world that I will be able to love my career and have it be a part of my life that goes beyond a paycheck.
PS. In the meantime, I have been learning how to cook via online recipes, my fuzzy memories and winging it. Some of my friends have marveled at this, and most probably think it’s a fad or something, but in actuality, I always kinda thought it was rather pathetic that I didn’t know how to cook at 22 years old beyond instant mee. It was always included in my new year’s resolutions, so I figure, it is time for me to catch up with my friends and learn this life skill. And while I am still in the very beginning stages, I must say I was pretty proud of my sweet potato ginger dessert soup.