“Goodbye to All That,” an essay I have constantly reread since introduced to it. I even filmed an adaptation of the essay for a class, it was quite professional for high schoolers. Joan Didion‘s essay about leaving New York is especially relevant to me right now as graduation becomes a vivid reality and no longer some far-off thing. Ironically I am referencing an essay about leaving New York City when I will potentially move there. Didion writes that “it’s hard to see the end of things,” which is true when there is no set end date, but for this period of my life there is, May 8th to be exact. I do not know if this freaks me out or is comforting.
As I try to cram as much as possible into my last months of college, I am comforted by the excitement and anticipation of what is to come, who I will meet, and what I will do. My parents so fondly reflect on the time they lived in D.C. after college, claiming that it was the best time. The optimism surrounding post-grad life makes May 8th less daunting and more of a step into what is to come. This contrasts heavily with Didion’s essay which is quite sad. Her extended time in New York takes a toll on her that she doesn’t even realize until she finally leaves.
My favorite part of the essay is the imagery of her life as a revolving door, she enters and spins only to step out years later, unaware of time passing. As I reread this essay, the image of a revolving door is how I imagine college currently. My college experience has passed similarly for me and the revolving door sped up due to the pandemic. I love the home I have made in Chapel Hill but a revolving door stays in the same place looking out at the same scenery. While I am content in the revolving door, the hard end approaches fast with my graduation and I know it brings something new and exciting upon exiting.
Photo shot by Justin Smith