A Graduate’s Post-Mortem College Report

Dear fellow life liver,
Read any further and you’ll know more about me than you did just a few seconds ago.

post·mor·tem
pōstˈmôrdəm
noun
noun: post-mortem
  1. 1.
    an examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death.
    synonyms: autopsy, postmortem examination, necropsy

    “the hospital carried out a postmortem”
    1.2.
    an analysis or discussion of an event held soon after it has occurred, especially in order to determine why it was a failure.
    “an election postmortem on why the party lost”
    synonyms: analysisevaluationassessmentappraisalexaminationreview

    “a postmortem of her failed relationship”

Let’s read that again, slowly now:

–an analysis or discussion of an event held soon after it has occurred, especially in order to determine why it was a failure.

So, you’re now reading this entry of my life because the title is oh-so-too-accurate.


A Graduate’s Post-Mortem College Report

This particular report of mine is to determine why college was such a failure.

I want to know, What worked? What didn’t? What could I have done differently to make things go smoother, to ensure I was doing right by family, friends, my grades, to establish a better outcome for everything.

Why do I feel like The End came and went but left me behind?

Re: To be determined.


On Cinco De Mayo–

So, May 5th, 2018–the day I did not pig myself out on chicken, onions and peppers on a bed of rice, all drenched in thick, creamy and dripping white cheese,

–I graduated college. No fucking way. What happened?

I sure as hell don’t actually feel old. I just tell people that when I notice changes in my life that I’m uncomfortable with, like when I saw my 14 year old brother, after years of separation, to find out that he’s nearly my height. And I’m not short.

Or when it was time to start doing taxes. I would say, Damn I’m old, then I would ask my granddaddy for his accounting expertise.

Or when my 94 year old Nana, pronounced Nan-naw, become bedridden because she broke her foot. Her body gave up on her. She let it. Didn’t do what the physical therapist said. Every time we visit her she always says, I want to go home. Her mind is still as sharp as the needle she uses to crochet, but I’m never sure if she actually knows that this Clorox-smelling room, with 4 white walls and a roommate, is her new home.

It’s one thing to know something in your mind, but a whole different thing to know something in your heart. Perhaps she’s still learning that Home isn’t always where the heart is. Home, sometimes, is where you have to be.

But still, not a day goes by that I don’t think, Wouldn’t it be nice to be bedridden today?

 

I do not get to claim ‘senior’ status anymore, not for a very long time. Not until I start having to ask children to speak up. I don’t even get student discounts anymore. Not morally, at least, I still have this Student ID.

But I don’t even recognize the boy in the photo anymore, why should someone else?

I’m 21 years old, 22 in 3 weeks. I’m getting older by the second and I don’t feel like I know enough, which is funny because at graduation last week, that’s exactly what the President of the University said, You. Now. Know. Enough.

He said it just like that, with unwarranted spaces between words like it gave them more meaning. He wasn’t being ironic, it was his lame attempt at being encouraging and inspirational. He was rousing up a speech no one wanted to hear.

Students in black robes entered that room of family and friends and whoever else was there to celebrate their milestone, but when all was said and done, even I was scrolling through Facebook and texting my family and friends, asking where they were sitting and what they wanted to eat after we left.

It got me thinking, Why is this the tradition? In simplest words, we learn then brag about it. What happened to learning because it made you feel good? Or learning because you wanted to be good at something? Didn’t people like Aristotle, Socrates, Plato and even Albert Einstein–who died in just 1955–have something to do with learning because they liked it. They taught what they learned and discovered and thought-up to share their passions of understanding the world. Their knowledge seems to transcend that of what I learned: How to calculate the time for my next class and whether or not I have enough time for lunch.

My experience in college, the place people swore up and down that once I graduated from it I would be able to live appropriately among those who already did that, was a monstrosity of emotions, commitment, money, effort I never had and a waste of time with my grandparents I wish would rush back to me.

 

Do not get my words completely wrong:

College was life-changing, and needed. I’ve grown so much. I not only learned things I wanted to know, I learned things I could have gone my whole life not knowing. This is neither good nor bad, just a mere observation that some things we learn could be learned at different times, and much quicker if I cared for what I’m learning. But 4 years? Wow.

But I want to know, Was it worth it? Why can I not answer that yet? Impatient or not, the answer should be rather simple, right?

The last four years of my life I lost a piece of me somewhere, but gained so much more of me. It’s rather odd, this whole growing up thing.

If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’ll ever be over this one. I got over that guy that stole my spot in line, or that I made my first C in college or that my feet are just big and chubby–but growing up: this is just awful.

– I want to be 5 again, when my mom asked, Is it ok if I marry him?

– I want to be 8 again, to take a picture of my grandmother making coffee in the kitchen before everything in the house was renovated and changed around.

– I want to be 10 again, tell my child-fat-ass, Stop eating your feelings away and keep up with soccer!–you’ll really miss it when you’re older.

– I want to be 11 again, and care to listen to Obama’s inauguration. History was flashing by then.

– I want to be 13 again, and tell my siblings upfront why I moved away from them. Then maybe I would tell my mom I wasn’t happy before things got out of hand.

– I want to be 14 again, to know that gay is ok, and try being ok sooner.

– I want to be 15 again and tell my best friend we were going to know each other for a very long time, but there will be lots of fighting and growing up to do. Then I would inform myself that, though all the students around me have iPhone 4s’s, that the even the iPhone 7, 8 and X aren’t worth begging and crying over.

– I want to be 16 again and tell myself I didn’t need a car, You’d have had 3 different ones before you’re 22 but you’ll really like driving.

– I want to be 18 again, where I was barely legal and couldn’t remember if Nana was 90 or 91–either are a milestone I’m truly proud of, maybe it’s in our genetics.

– I want to be 19 again, and tell my grandparents I’m gay before they went to Alaska for way too long. Writing a note to them wasn’t bad, though, just unexpected, unplanned, almost unwanted at the time.

– I want to be 20 again, without the job and responsibilities. My hair was longer then, too.

I want to be 21 all over again. A redo sounds lovely. This year was hard, but here I am, wanting to make things better, to push harder in certain areas and let go of others. I want reassurance and understanding.

I want me again.

AND THAT’S WHERE THIS REPORT CONCLUDES. For now.

See, through this spilling of my life and uncertainties, I realized along the way that one cannot simplify a life that is not simple. One cannot tell the full story of a life that hasn’t concluded.

One cannot survive in the present and hope for a future if they sulk in defeat of the past.

 

With all due further explanation,

Ryan J. Allen

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