A BFA Graduate from Michigan State University

Last weekend I graduated. It’s taken me so long to write this post, to tell you how it feels, to wrap up four years of incredible growth, to relive a day that happened in a blink yet carries so much gravity… 

So I started thinking about the everyday.

Parking on Orchard Street, and walking the rest of the way to campus.

The magnolias.

Having drawing class on the sprawling lawn.

Painting in the studio before sunrise.

Meeting friends for lunch.

My heart skipping over Marcel Breuer, Helen Levitt, Mark Rothko, and Alexey Brodovitch.

My wildly feminist art history professor. She was too much while I had her, but I admire her tenacity in hindsight, and her prowess has stayed with me.

Having a meltdown in my graphic design professor’s office, and for once hearing everything I needed to hear.

Those in-between moments made it for me. All the walks, all the coffee, all the crying and long hours and creative messes between deadlines. It was a taste of perfect.
Family had arrived a couple days prior and filled our tiny house with love, excitement, and muddy puppy paws. The day of my ceremony, I felt lighter than air. My heart was full and surprisingly (for me) at peace. I expected to be a ball of nerves and sobbing incessantly during the coronation speech. Accepting my diploma didn’t feel real, as anyone can tell you, but it happened. And I swear I floated all day.

After the ceremony we opted to bypass the crowds at the Spartan Statue and the Beaumont Tower for private photos at my building—a gorgeous, linear, mid-century modern art center. Far from the bustle of west campus, it was quiet here, and the occasional jogger would run by along the riverbank, smiling as she passed. I’d pause to return the look. To anyone who passed by, it was just another day, just a normal afternoon getting their run in. While they were comfortable in their routine, mine was rumbling towards a glorious, tectonic shift.
We slowly walked back to the car and headed for a luncheon at the The Creole, our favorite little place in Old Town, Lansing. We sipped on champagne and talked about life as George Lewis played overhead.

Now then. We are all wildly different and one woman’s challenge is another woman’s cake walk. I’m not claiming to be the end-all of late-in-lifers, and I’m certainly not the oldest to have graduated among twenty year-olds frequenting Tinder. But there’s a couple of things I bet we can universally agree on, and I lovingly pass this on to anyone on the fence about taking a defining leap:

Let’s stop measuring life by age. Reread that. Reread that, again. We live in an exciting time where advanced aged women are splashed across the screen, you can be a first-time mother at 50, and Eat Pray Love is real. You will get to it, on your own terms. This isn’t a suggestion to put things off, and yes, certain things are much more suitable for the spry, but it’s a valid way of shifting the way we think about longevity. It doesn’t matter if you’re 30 or 65—you’re still on this planet and still have a life to celebrate and dreams to fulfill.

Before the mic drops, I have one more pearl of wisdom to pass off onto you. 

When you get blackout mad, and so frustrated and so fed up and things are just way too hard in the moment… dance. And dance hard. The sensation will be elevated if you’re alone, it’s after dark, and you have an amplifier. Nothing else will matter, I promise. It’s the craziest sugar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back To Top