Well, “the best days of my life” are coming to a close.
Getting the Notice
I remember when I first received the notice that I’d be going to College. I was somewhere in the woods of Yosemite National Park when my phone went off and I read one of the greatest text messages I have ever received:
“Congratulations Patrick! You’ve been accepted to Creighton University for the Fall 2009 semester!”
Even with my extensive vocabulary of words, I can’t express how happy I was to receive that text. I had spent the previous few months working as a Snowboard Instructor, unsure if I would even have the chance to go to College given my less-than-phenomenal grades during my first year of high school. Yet there I stood, an enrolled College student. Take that high school self-esteem!
The Wait Is On
Despite my initial excitement, I spent the next few months in a state of anxiety. I wondered if I had somehow been the victim of a fluke or fudge in the admissions. Not only was Creighton my top choice, but it was also my reach school. Given my ACT scores and the fact that I had gone to two high schools, I didn’t think Creighton would accept me. Over the next few months, I received numerous rejection letters from comparable universities. I failed to qualify for Gonzaga, Seattle University, Sonoma State, Chico State, or a dozen others. Not even Fordham University, my grandfather and brother’s alma mater, had a place for me.
How I Knew Creighton Was the One
Even though I had indeed been accepted into Creighton, I didn’t think I would be able to afford it. I had decided to try to get into Chico State — who cited inconsistencies in my Canadian grades as the reason for my rejection — and was even drafting an appeal letter. Just as I was finishing it up, my Dad called me to inform me of the financial aid package I had received from Creighton, an amount so tempting that not even going to a California State school (which I had residency for) would have been cheaper. I remember sitting around a campfire that night with some friends, during my phase of being a barefoot, shirtless, hair-down-to-my-shoulders mountain man (with such finely crafted colloquialisms that included the words “gnar” and “bra”) and wondering how I had come into such good fortune.
Right up until my first day of move-in, I was expecting someone to call to tell me that they had made a mistake. That there was some other Patrick Keaveny they had sent the wrong letter to, and that I wasn’t supposed to be there. Alas, no call ever came, and after I had said goodbye to my parents, I knew for certain that I was meant to be here.
Four Years Later
Now here I sit, four years after that campfire, my hair shorter, my arms buffer, my mind larger, and my experiences more well-versed (my feet remain barefoot however). And yet, I feel surprisingly… unfulfilled.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some wonderful experiences. I lived with some of the best friends I could have asked for. I gained self-confidence in myself, my skills, and my intelligence. I grew as a person and had unique experiences. I got to explore my interests as well as stray outside my familiar comfort zones and find exciting new interests. On top of that, I had some of the most challenging classes with some of the most personal and inspiring teachers I have ever met.
Yet things aren’t the way they should be. I can’t really explain how I know this, but I know. Deep down, I know that something is wrong, something happened, or more accurately, didn’t happen in these last four years, and I walk into the real world a little cynical of my College experience.
If anything, I have learned that the journey isn’t over for me. There is something missing, something I have yet to find, something that didn’t happen in College that I hope will happen after. I don’t know what said thing is, all I know is that I have yet to be fulfilled. I have yet to settle down and am not sure if I will settle down for awhile. I have too much fire in me to let the end of college be the end of the best years of my life.
For me, the journey is far from over. Four years later, and the journey is just beginning.
Who knows where I’ll be four years later?