When I was in it, it seemed at times neverending and even useless; and sometimes I would not want to be anywhere else.  I remember my first year of university and all of the effort I put in to all my courses, music history, theory, skills… and I remember feeling frustration.  I remember that all the really important learning came through conversations, or when I used to practise in the big, dark auditorium that echoed back faithfully whatever I projected into it.  I used to sing the same aria, the same phrase of music, over and over countless times until I had it perfect.  I remember my first lesson with Henriette, and now knowing that Bach lived in the Baroque era, and being incapable of singing the exercises she had me sing… and I remember crying the minute I left the room, and then getting over it and getting to work learning everything I needed to learn.  I remember locking myself in my dorm room for hours and hours of studying for music history and theory assignments.  I also remember never, ever practising for music skills and still getting an A.  😉 

So many firsts happened in those rooms.  So many crushes, loves, friends and enemies were made and so many giggles were had at Dietrich's lectures, even at 8:30am every morning in first year.  So many sicknesses and pranks, so much information that I couldn't regurgitate now but that I had downpat at the time.  So many tens of pounds of books I lugged back and forth from the library to my dorm room.  So much complaining and whining about the difficulties of being a music student.  So many hymns and choir pieces… sooo many hours in choir practise, which I can honestly say I never missed unless I was deathly ill or out of the country.  And I always looked forward to the day I was finished, the day I was free to do what I felt I should do in life.

But now – how much all of those moments have shaped me into the person who will do what I should in life.  I now realize how much I took these people and places and moments for granted and how much I will really miss the support I have right now.  I am not brave, I simply have momentum, and it is now time for me to let the momentum of completion propel me into the next terrifying, exciting experience.  The momentum is mine alone, however, and I feel this vividly – no one will come with me into my new adventure, even though I know they would.

Tomorrow I will accept the honor associated with all my hard work through these last 5 years and I will say my last goodbyes to the place that gave me my momentum, sometimes in causing me to rebel, but mostly in its gentle encouragement.  That will be hard but it would not be right if it were easy.  The time for goodbyes has come and I am ready.

Packing for the Future – Instructions (by Lorna Crozier)

Take the thickest socks
Wherever you are going you'll have to walk
There may be water ~ there may be stones
There might be high places
You cannot go without the hope socks bring you
The way they hold you to the earth
At least one pair must be new, must be blue as you wish
Hand-knit by your mother in her sleep

Take a leather stachel, a velvet bag
And an old tin box – a salamander painted on the lid
This is to carry that small thing you cannot leave
Perhaps the key you've kept ~ though it doesn't fit any lock you know
The photograph that keeps you sane
A ball of string to lead you out though you can't walk back into that light
In your bag, leave room for sadness, leave room for another language
There may be doors nailed shut ~ there may be painted windows
There may be signs to warn you to be gone
Take the dream you've been having since you were a child
The one with the open fields and the wind sounding

Mistrust no one who offers you water from a well, a songbird's feather
Something that's been mended twice
Always travel lighter than the heart