Going to Vanderbilt’s Homecoming was definitely the highlight of my trip. I got to talk with our future Spring Break leaders and pretend I was back in college. I woke up on Sunday with the disturbing thought that I was leaving my beloved school and heading back to Guatemala. To be honest I didn’t want to go. I’d had about all the mudslides and rain I could take. However, as we stepped outside at the airport in Guatemala City the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We hopped in a shuttle and settled in for the long ride back to Sololá. Driving through the Guatemalan countryside I had a realization. My depression didn’t stem from returning to Guatemala, but from the understanding that I was no longer a Vanderbilt student. The fact is I’m just now coming to terms with graduating. For the past five months I have taken comfort in the slightly delusional idea that I’m just studying abroad, taking a short break from school, but will be coming back soon. Leaving Vanderbilt after only a weekend, it finally clicked with me, I was just a visitor. I don’t belong there anymore and as I settle back into life in Guatemala I’m finally owning up to that fact.
My post-grad problems stemmed from not accepting my graduation, but I have begun to recognize that most people are dealing with a lot bigger problems than that. So to all you soon-to-be graduates: I don’t want to alarm you but you can’t stay in college forever. Maybe you squeeze in a fifth year if you swing things right, but the 6th one rarely happens. You need to have a plan and if you want to have an amazing experience while easing yourself into the real world and minimizing the post-grad problems apply to become a Program Director for Manna!
I love my life, Emily