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How to stay sane after graduation

When I leave Brandeis next spring, I don’t know where in the world I will end up. I will become a nomad, following a job or a person, an opportunity or a dream. I am sure that shortly after establishing myself in a new place, I will be forced to put down roots somewhere else. But it’s okay; I’ve done it before.

When I was growing up, my family moved several times. I have called home the great states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado and most recently, Massachusetts. I do not yet know what will come next. The same can be said for many other graduating seniors. Whether we are following an opportunity to travel, a new job, an acceptance letter into graduate school or a loved one, many of us will no longer be in Waltham by this time next year. This can be intimidating and scary but also exciting and invigorating. Since I have plenty of experience moving around, I think that I have some comforting insights that will help my fellow Brandeis seniors in their transition out of college.

The best way I have found to handle these types of transitions is to remember that leaving a place doesn’t mean you have to give anything up. Remember that that you will still have the same tangible things. I put up the same decorations in every bedroom I inhabit in order to make a particular house feel like home. My “Sherlock” poster feels like home. Artwork my friend made me feels like home.

I like to see my books arranged on the shelf the same way that I organized them when I was nine years old and living in Virginia—and 10 in Colorado, and 18 in Shapiro Hall. My interior decorating preferences change as I grow, not as I move. I will never have to give up my childhood bedroom, my college dorm room or any other bedroom until I choose to. I will simply take them with me. It is empowering and comforting, I have found, to create a home.

You do not have to give up the people or the activities you like. Do you miss having dinner with your friend every Wednesday? Find a time to catch up on the phone once a week. Do you miss doing yoga in Gosman after class? Enroll in a yoga class at the local rec. center. It does not matter where you are as long as you are with people you like and doing things you like.

My message to my soon-to-be fellow nomads is, in short: As graduation approaches, remember that you do not have to leave behind anything that you want to keep. Continue to do the things you like to do. Maintain relationships with people you enjoy. Create a familiar and comforting physical environment for yourself. When you take your life with you wherever you go, even the nomad does not want for a home.

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