Just a week from today, I’ll be boarding a plane to Miami, the first stop on my journey to become a Peace Corps volunteer. Sitting in my quiet suburban town, I can’t quite picture what my life will be like for the next two years. But I am sure of my conviction to embrace the new possibilities and communities I encounter. I am also in awe, grateful, endlessly appreciative of the love my family and friends have shown me over the past few weeks. Despite my tendency to descend into the very corner of Haas Business School’s basement library during my last weeks of school, my friends drew me out of academics for adventures across the San Francisco Bay Area and entire country. and despite it all, I somehow managed to get A’s in all my classes this semester.
The first weekend of May was spent with four of my closest friends – Mehek, Karina, Nina, Emily and I – dancing until sunrise in Las Vegas, Nevada. A moment around 3:30AM in XS on Saturday morning stands out, when shiny gold streamers were falling from the ceiling, the speakers were blaring and the insufferable dry ice machines were going strong. The Chainsmokers played their popular song, “Closer“, and Mehek and I sang along just as loudly as we had in my silver Passat when the song first came out last August. We returned home with our feminist minds resolved to never return again, to “Dead” Week, or the week before final exams.
The week was spent in a mix of studying and sorority events, allowing me to end college just the way I started it. Tuesday night, the seniors teamed up for our last-ever fraternity crawl, starting the night at my sophomore year favorite: SigEp. Wednesday, we found out that the university’s Panhellenic chapters had voted to reinstate Delta Sigma as a local, affiliate chapter, with full rights to participate in fall formal recruitment! We cried happy tears over our study snacks that night. Thursday, we initiated our newest class of Sigmas under a ritual that we wrote and orchestrated ourselves. I felt a strong sense of pride as I looked across the women being initiated that night – we had created Delta Sigma all on our own; just as my time as an active member was ending, I felt confident that the burgeoning sorority would thrive on its own. My sweet great-grandlittle and great-great-grandlittle each gave me a goodbye prophecy and graduation note that night, and I gave away all of my Greek life memorabilia at Senior Wills.
The following week, all of my finals were packed into Monday and Tuesday. Before I could blink, I had walked out of my finance final and straight into Kips. My first act after finishing finals was our ritual of Tuesday trivia night. Over the following mornings at the Visitor’s Center front desk, I urged all the “I was just accepted off the waitlist!” students to find their dream university at Berkeley, like I had. The gravity of my impending graduation gave me renewed vigor as a tour guide. My graduation ceremonies came along on Saturday and Monday – I slowly roasted in my black cap and gown, sending silly snapchats to my friends. I marveled at just how few of my fellow graduates sitting alongside me I had actually met over the past for years.
My last full day in Berkeley was also my 22nd birthday. I had overwhelmed my schedule with activities, determined not to miss a bucket list item before I moved: camping under the stars in Napa, a 3AM Denny’s breakfast run, a sunrise hot air balloon ride through the Napa Valley, a stop at Bouchon Bakery, a hike through Muir Woods, a trip to Sol Food for plantains to go, a much-needed map, a slice of pizza and beer at Sliver, a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, a visit to the California Academy of Sciences Nightlife, and finally connecting with nearly twenty friends to say goodbye at a San Francisco bar. Looking down the long table and seeing friends from all different points of my life and me realize just how hard it would be to say goodbye.