I Graduated College
I ended up graduating college this year and I’m not too sure how to feel about it. I guess I would describe it as bittersweet, finally walking across the stage of the Blue Hill Bank Pavilion as they pronounced my name completely wrong. The last time I was here I was listening to the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd close out a great show with “Free Bird”. I can just remember high school graduation and it couldn’t be more opposite. In high school we went to the beach the day of, had a great time during the day, then went to graduation, and then after went to a party. My college graduation was at 10am. I had to wake up at 8am and I drove in with my mother, father, sisters, and grandmother(Talk about a pregame!). All my close friends were either in the school of arts and science (whose commencement was at 1pm) or they were a semester behind, and planned on graduating in December. I also went to a school that was 80% commuters. When each name got called I couldn’t recognize the person besides a few I met in class over the years. In high school I knew everyone’s name, everyone’s story, I knew the teachers who gave each speech, and the valedictorians too. I could look in the crowd and see Mrs.Smith who lived across the street from me. I saw old little league coaches, and siblings of friends I knew growing up. At college graduation I looked out and all I saw were blank faces in a crowd. In college it just wasn’t the same. When you graduate high school you have the whole world to look forward too. At the time I knew I was going to college, which meant I knew I was entering what everyone tells you are the best years of your life. When I graduated college what did I have to look forward to, getting taken off my parents health insurance in three years? Working a full time job? I didn’t know what to be excited about when everyone keeps basically telling me the best years of my life are over. To top it off I went to the graduation night at BIJOU (It actually was a good time.)
I entered this year knowing it was my last year of college. I knew it was the last year I would be able to be taught by world class Professors, and one of the last years to pursue my dreams. Some people want to be pilots, or professional baseball players growing up. But I was always different, I’ve always wanted to be a writer (Or an NBA player). I studied Finance, but English was my favorite subject growing up, I even won an award for a short story I wrote in fifth grade in the Will Mcdonough Writing Contest. At the beginning of senior year I was two electives away from getting my minor in economics or accounting, and I only had two electives left. I loved economics, but hated accounting, but I knew a minor in accounting would help my resume. Meanwhile I thought to myself this is the last chance I could actually pursue my dreams, so I said fuck it and took an intro to creative writing class in the fall and had the best professor of my life.
George Kalogeris. He was truly life changing. He was my Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. His passion was intoxicating, his eyes gleamed like light bulbs as he explained the differences in meter in poems, and how short sentences add a different effect than long sentences in prose. He was truly inspiring. I even ended up going to a poetry reading by him. He pointed me out in the crowd and asked if I could hear in the back. Then he recited this deep poem about Syria while an actual lightning storm was happening outside. Thunder cried down as his poem cried out for the Syrian civilians. It was a moment I’ll never forget and truly was symbolic of his greatness. By the end of the semester I had my first writing portfolio consisting of poetry, fiction, and non fiction short stories.
The next semester I took a fiction writing workshop class, where we had to write 3 short stories that were 8-12 pages long. We also had Paul Tremblay, writer of “A Head Full of Ghosts” (which might be made into a movie) come in and answer all our questions about being a professional writer. It was dope. We read a craft book and after a couple of weeks our first short stories were due. The way the class was set up was that the whole class would read two peoples short stories before each class, then we would take the entire class period to discuss them. Having an entire classroom talk about your story is pretty nerve-racking so you better make sure its good. I worked really hard on my first short story, you can read an excerpt below or read the whole story here.
We also had to write a letter to each person about things we liked, and things we thought could improve on the story. It was finally my day to go, and I was freaking out before class wondering what people were going to say. Then finally my turn came and it was one of the dopest moments of my life. We couldn’t comment on our own story while in class, so everyone else discussed it, then you would answer some questions people had at the end of class about your story. As the class discussed my story the professor and other students picked up on the symbolism I was trying to use and my allusions to modern day society right away. Almost every theme I was trying to portray people understood, and I had never smiled so much hearing peoples reactions. I’ve heard before that when musicians make music together they need to fall in love before they make a song. There was a certain intimacy this class had to it, where we were all so different but all the same. It was romantic. Each of us had the goal of being writers one day, yet we had different styles that we each helped develop through our feedback. This class made me feel like I had a purpose and that purpose is my writing. I ended up writing three short stories that semester. The first one that I showed you the link to is definitely my favorite, I wrote a second story about my trip to Colombia except I experimented more with a third person narrative focusing on the perspective of the main character, who slowly goes off the deep end as his perception becomes more drug induced and power hungry as the story progresses, and I have an epic Cock fight scene (roosters fighting) but it still needs some work. My last story started out solid. I posted the beginning on instagram. This was sort of inspired by my favorite short story by James Joyce called “Araby” Heres the post. It also needs some work, but hopefully I can continue to take writing workshops, improve on my writing, and end up getting published one day, but for now the blog goes on.
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