Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's the Home Stretch!

Hip, hip, hurray! (insert old-school Nickelodeon fanfare noise here) Today was my last day of classes! Although it doesn't feel very real, it's gotten me a bit emotional. Bittersweet. I'm not afraid to say I'm proud of myself. I think that occasionally it's necessary for you to step back and look at all you've accomplished, and really appreciate what you've done. Although I haven't crossed the finish line yet, I'm so close! Now I walk to school knowing there's only a limited number of times that I will see these familiar sights again. I don't want to get too crazy on saying goodbye just yet, I'll save that for when I actually leave.

But what I noticed today, is that it's funny how you get so used to one thing in life, and all the little details of that thing somehow define it. Like the last day of school, for instance. At Missouri State, the last day of school is usually defined by a messy just-got-out-of-bed hair do, T-shirt/baggy running shorts, beautiful balmy May weather, a general feeling of excitement on campus, a dormant knot-in-the-gut feeling, and a giant breakfast. Post-class involves strolling victoriously through the beautiful open campus, dipping my toes in the fountain, and celebrating afterwards with Andy's ice cream. Then immediately back to frantically studying, maybe even for that weird Saturday final I'd occasionally have. 

So today, when I fixed my hair as always, put on real clothes, had normal breakfast, and had a pleasant, well-rested, overall feeling of general normalness, it didn't feel like the last day of school for me. Because usually, the biggest obstacle to get through is the semester. There's such a feeling of success that I made it! But not here. No classroom assignments, no job, no volunteering, no lab write-ups, no in-semester tests. No feeling of accomplishment or relief. That may also be because I still have, wait for it, THREE WEEKS of exams. Ugh. Double ugh. So there is still a chance for me to have that awful but glorious last day of school feeling on July 17th, when I sit my last exam in Operations Management. 

Luckily, today we actually had decent weather! Aachen can do right once in a while. The next couple of weeks will be busy, busy, busy with few breaks in between. However, tonight is the semifinal of Euro 2012 with Germany vs. Italy, and things are going to get exciting! And next week I'm celebrating the 4th of July by cooking American food for my international friends. Then all that's left are windsurfing lessons, the last international BBQ, and saying goodbye. Time is a fickle creature. It trickles and sprints at the same time. Soon I'll be back in the land of 24/7  Walmarts and XXXL pants. As I said before, bittersweet. 

So, in the next few weeks, if I do happen to post a blog ( I know, I know! I'm still behind!) you'll know it's because I'm seriously putting off studying for my final about European Economic Integration. :) 

I leave you with this thought. Appreciate the little details of every day in life, and especially on those days that have certain weird traditions. I didn't realize until too late today that I really missed doing the whole "minimal-effort last day of school thing."  Because when those details change, or aren't there anymore, you really realize how much they meant to you. 

Anyway, wish me luck! First exam is in my German class tomorrow! 

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