Graduation Grin

In what seems to me to still be surreal, I have officially completed my first bout of college education. This morning, I headed to class at 8:30 to kick off my last day of finals, of which I had two. As of now, those tests are completed, and I am home now, with what could arguably be considered the biggest smile ever plastered on my face. Though grades will not be in for some time (a week or three, depending on how lame my university is about posting them), I know that I am done.

Despite the fact that graduate school looms ahead, and that next semester I’ll be taking two classes (I can’t decide if I’m a glutton for punishment, or what–but my classes next semester are 100% elective, and two classes will be much less trouble than the five or six I’m used to. But whatever. The point is, I’ve reached a milestone for which I’ve yearned for what seems like ages, and yet thought was completely beyond my grasp.

I don’t mean to say that I didn’t think I could do it. I knew without a doubt that I could. What I didn’t know was if I could make it through while also experiencing the inner torment of a soul crying to be set free. To give you an idea of what I’m saying, I offer this timetable:

  • Freshman year: Phil is a newbie college student, and quickly discovers he likes the atmosphere and feel of college. It’s exciting, new, different, and interesting. Phil takes lots and lots of credit hours, thinking he wants to be an engineer (only later to realize that that is the last thing he wants). He spends long hours studying, and meets some cool friends too.
  • Sophomore year: Phil starts this year a little nervous, but excited about the prospect of studying this new subject of speech pathology. He continues to be quite studious, and unconsciously avoids friendships that might get too deep.
  • Junior year: Phil continues on, totally caught up in this fascinating path of study. He continues to take sign language classes and decides to try for a second major in interpreting. Phil’s mind suddenly rebels, telling Phil that no longer can the distractions stop it from thinking. Doing what needs doing is impossible thanks to repressed thoughts surfacing and refusing to be put down. Sleep is lost at night as Phil fights an inner battle over what he desperately wishes was not true.
  • Senior year: Phil finally relents, and accepts that which is a part of him. He holds a grudge for quite some time, but this first step of acceptance suddenly eases his mind somewhat, and he can focus on both his paths of study. In addition, he starts writing to help figure out what he’s all about. He starts a Yahoo! Group in October and then starts blogging a month later. Phil learns more and more how to express himself, and meets some amazing people. Phil discovers he doesn’t hate himself after all.
  • 2nd senior year: Phil has accepted himself completely, and has come out to a number of close friends. He discovers freedom and happiness, at long last. Study is balanced with life. Phil seeks to continue his path to becoming openly gay. Though Phil is still burned out from school, he presses on, and at last succeeds and finishes his degrees!

I am, for the first time in my life, happy and content with all aspects of my being. I am thrilled to have reached this milestone. I am thrilled to have grown as much as I have. I am thrilled that I have accepted who I am inside. I am thrilled that I have wonderful friends, both in real life and right here. To all those reading this, I thank you for your support, encouragement, love, and most of all, for your friendship. I don’t know where I would be without you.