Seeking Solace

With every ending is a shiny new beginning

More stories from Julia Van Allen

Seeking Solace
May 6, 2019

It’s the point in the semester that the end is becoming real once again. I’ve found myself feeling nostalgic about my time at UW-Eau Claire, trying to remember every detail of the good, the bad and even the ugly things that happened while I’ve been here.

This reminiscing has brought out a realization in me as well: As sad as I am to be leaving Eau Claire, for the time being at least, there is still a lot to look forward to. Not every end has to be sad, because the end is just a path to a new beginning.

Taking a risk at sounding corny, every end is just a new beginning. As my undergraduate career is coming to a close, a world of options is opening up to me. I’m only as limited as I allow myself to be.

Not having a set plan for after graduation is scary, I won’t deny that, but I’m enjoying the chance to take the time I need to bounce back after another semester has steamrolled me.

I need time to take a breath, to find solid ground and figure out my next steps. I need time to reconnect with the things I love doing that I didn’t have time for during the semester, and that’s OK!

While learning about other’s after-graduation plans definitely stirs up feelings of inadequacy and fear, I know that my time will come soon and I will find something amazing.

I’m not pushing myself to take on more than I can handle right now — frankly, finals is going to take a lot out of me and I’m not really sure what’s all going to be left — but I will continue applying to jobs both local and at the far ends of the country until I find a job prospect that makes my heart sing.

It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.

When it comes to facing the fact that I’ll be leaving Eau Claire behind, at least for this stretch of time, I’m finding myself traveling back to the places across town that I love the most; Racy’s, Mt. Simon, Thai Orchid, Putnam Rock and the Local Store are all stops I intend to hit before packing up the rest of my apartment and moving out.

Although I won’t be living too far away and I can always visit, I know that Eau Claire and the university won’t feel the same after I walk across that stage at graduation. And that’s OK.

At this point, I’m trying to take in as much of the city I’ve called home for the past four years and focus on the good memories that bubble up.

I already have plans to visit friends in Door County and Milwaukee, inciting new adventures to spice up the monotony of life and to introduce me to areas of the state I haven’t been to before.

This coming summer is one I intend to remember forever. With plans to go to Seattle with my aunt and sisters and the potential for additional cross-country trips this summer, I’m keeping my options and horizons wide open.

My advice for the transition period after spring semester is this: Don’t expect everything to feel the same. I know as I drive back into my hometown with my car packed full and an expensive piece of paper — I mean, degree — the place I grew up in will feel different, but I know I wouldn’t want it to feel the same.

In the past, I felt like I was taking steps back rather than forward, but graduation is showing me just how far I have actually come. Looking to the future, I know now that it’s on me to make sure that I keep moving forward.

This time in the semester doesn’t just have to be melancholy and nostalgic, because let’s be honest, those memories were good at the time, and I’m choosing to see this as a new beginning.

This Blugold is flying for the last time, folks. Bye, bye, Birdie.

Van Allen can be reached at [email protected].