Bittersweet. That’s really the only way I can describe what I’m feeling right now. The realization hit me with full force this morning that by next week I’ll have no more classes, no more homework, no more tests…no more school for at least the next three months. And while part of me is relieved, a part of me hardly knows what to do with myself. I feel a bit sad, a bit lost. And I’m so pathetic I actually shed a few tears. I think I’ve become one of those strange people that actually likes being in school.

Of course, I’m beat. I’m exhausted. I’m glad, in some ways, that this past semester is nearly over. It has been pretty rough at times. A couple courses have given me many stressful, hair-pulling moments. Moments where I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel. But I’ve hung in there, and here I am at last, at the end. And looking back with very fond memories on those classes, classmates and professors that made this past semester worth even the frustrating bits. It has been a very intense, yet simultaneously very rewarding semester.

This semester has been rewarding mainly because two courses I took had wonderful professors, great classmates, and subjects I loved and excelled in. One professor especially–who taught my favorite class, Spanish 202–left a very positive impression on me. Some people are just cut out to be teachers, and this guy was one of them. Friendly, down-to-earth, approachable, and the type of professor who took personal interest in each one of his students. And yesterday, at our last class, he made my day when, after I handed him my final exam, he frankly and warmly wished me the best, gave me high praise on my grades, and told me he believed I would not only be accepted at the university I applied to, but would do very well there. This meant a lot to me, because, despite his genial nature, he wasn’t one who flattered or gave out compliments and praise indiscriminately. So I knew he meant every word he said. But I was touched even more when I later read a personal note he left on my final essay. He basically gave me more praise and encouragement, and told me how much he appreciated my “dedication” to his class. I have to honestly say I’ve never received such a note from a college professor before. I’ve received notes before, I’ve received commendation before, but not all rolled into one. So such a gesture really touched and encouraged me.

But that note simply added more “bittersweetness” to the end of this semester, and really, the end of my time at the community college. I’ve met some great people, even made a couple friends, and learned a lot over the last few years. And even though this last semester was the most stressful of them all, in some senses, I’ve enjoyed the relationships, discussions, interactions and intellectual stimulation it’s afforded me. And this is why, I think, I’ll miss being in school over the next few months. And why I hope, come tomorrow, that some certain news I’ve been waiting for will be affirmative, and not negative. For I’m only one day away from finding out if the next step of my academic journey will continue on in the fall.

So we’ll see. All I can say for sure at this point is that college has been good for me. I think I’ve walked away from the last few years with greater confidence in my abilities and hopefully better prepared for whatever the future holds. So I hope, and pray, my schooling will continue on into the fall, in a different city, at a four-year university. I confess that I won’t know what to do with myself if it doesn’t. Being in school has given me a greater purpose, a goal, something to keep me going amidst all the other difficult and painful things in my life.

Tomorrow awaits. My future awaits. But I am thankful for what I’ve been given over the last few years, and I will cherish especially the good memories of this past semester. It was rough. But it was also fun. And I learned a lot.