Thursday, May 15, 2008

Into the wild

Wow, so much to tell!

The Gazette offered me a job, which I had to unfortunately turn down. I've decided to move to Dedham, Mass., with Darren. He's settled in quite well at his new job, telling of midday "Call of Duty 2" competitions and two huge-screen monitors on his desk. It must be nice working for a Fortune 500 company!

We have a townhouse in Dedham that I'll move into tomorrow. The lease began on May 15. Mom and Dad are coming up Saturday to bring up and help me move the rest of my stuff, as well as help Darren bring some of his stuff from his New Bedford apartment. It's a great-looking place. I found it on Craigslist, and sent the link to Darren among three other potential places for rent. He picked that one, which I liked best as well. He contacted the real-estate agent and toured the place. He met the landlord, and within a couple days, the place was ours.

I have two interviews coming up -- one on the 19th and one on June 5 -- with job agencies in Boston for possible placement in a receptionist/administrative assistant position, but I've heard there are also openings at publishing houses as well, which I would prefer. From my research, full-time receptionists can make more starting out than most journalists entering the field, and most positions include benefits such as health insurance, which I need badly. I would feel bad having a full-time job and still relying on Darren for support with rent and other household bills while I'm bogged down with enormous student loan payments, all the while unable to visit a doctor without having to pay out of pocket.

Still, it feels great to have a degree and finally be out of school. Not that I didn't enjoy my four years at Syracuse University. I just feel like I've transcended those years, and it's time to move on and finally begin my life with a person with whom I've found the love of my life. I can finally live on my own with him, paying my way and doing things my way. I can find out what it's like to live with someone before entering the giant commitment of marriage. We can discover each other's quirks and support each other unfailingly and at the same time grow as individuals. Some of you would probably scoff at this decision, but after nine months living five hours away from him, I believe it's right that we take this step and finally allow ourselves to be together. I wouldn't have been able to last any longer without him.

The graduation weekend itself was a whirl of convocations, waking up early, family, food and celebration. I attended both the College of Arts and Sciences' and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications' convocations May 10, which Nana and Uncle John also attended. As I looked up into the stands of the Carrier Dome to see where my parents and Darren were sitting, I swore I saw my brother wearing a bright green shirt, carrying a leather jacket. It turns out he made the trip up to see me! It was great that Nana and Uncle John made the effort to come out as well. We went to Tully's for lunch/early dinner after the Newhouse convocation ended around 2 p.m., and then they went back to Buffalo. For Commencement, Mom's side of the family was there. It was really touching, marching in with the other Newhouse students to our seats on the floor of the Dome (we didn't want to sit with Arts and Sciences because we'd only be one in a million people, whereas with Newhouse we wouldn't be so invisible). I waved to my family as I walked past them. Bob Woodruff gave the Commencement speech; it was really stunning and inspiring. We stood with our class as Chancellor Nancy Cantor deemed us worthy of our degrees. Afterward, the family drove to Herkimer for a small party as Darren and I packed the rest of my stuff in our cars, returned my apartment keys at Goldstein, and drove home, my car failing all the way.

Yeah, a note on my car: It wasn't doing too well the past week or so. I had been worried to death that something major was wrong. It stumbled whenever I started it up and drove it, and it took forever to accelerate, stumbling the entire time I stepped on the gas. I'd done some research online, and for a lot of others on message boards who'd experienced the same thing, the problem turned out to be plug/wiring problems. Uncle John looked under the hood before he and Nana left, and he found it was a bad spark plug in the engine. I was so relieved! Dad replaced all the plugs and wires once I got home.

Anyway, our little party at home was really nice. It celebrated both my graduation and Mother's Day. Darren and I gave Grammy a card, and I got Mom the hooded sweatshirt she'd wanted, along with a touching card it took me forever to pick out because I wanted it to be special. She cried when she read it, and everyone else who read it broke into tears, including me! Here's what it said (and I found it very touching and appropriate): "From Your Daughter: I'll Never Outgrow Your Love -- I can't imagine what I'd do / or even what I'd be / without the guidance, help and love / you've always given me. / Although I'd like to think that I / am living 'on my own,' / I know how much I need you, Mom, / even though I am grown."

My parents and Aunt Mo are getting me a new laptop for graduation, and Grammy gave me a gold bracelet. Tonight, my last night in Herkimer, Aunt Mo's taking me out to dinner. I can't be more grateful for the support and love I've received from my family and loved ones in these last weeks before and up to graduation and my impending move to Massachusetts. Though I'll be farther away, they understand it's time for me to "leave the nest" and begin my life with the one I love in an area I've grown so fond of (and so close to Providence, R.I., my beloved city). Thanks to everyone who's given support and friendship over these past four years of my college career. Without all of you, I would have never been able to wear that graduation gown and stand with the Class of 2008 to receive my bachelor's degree. I'm grateful to you all.

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