It still hasn't entirely sunk in that I am forever out of school for as long as I choose to be (until I go for my masters). I went straight to FIU the summer after I graduated high school. For most of my 23 years on this Earth, I've been in school, and for the last 5 years I've been working simultaneously. Thus, as one would imagine, it feels rather unusual not to have some sort of assignment to do or class to go to. Essays, textbooks, tests, studying - all these things felt as routine as brushing my teeth or eating breakfast. They were inseparable from my everyday life. Indeed, a lot of people used to tell me that I should just get a job as a student I do pride myself on being something of an autodidact, and I do love to learn. Despite all the stress and lack of time that came with being a full-time student (and often also a full-time employee), I had to admit that I enjoyed school a lot. It wasn't just all the things I learned, but the experiences I had - the "non-academic" education if you will: the value of an education and (perhaps most importantly) of money, how to manage time and balance different priorities, and how valuable it is to keep good habits, like sleeping well and being organized (admittedly, work on the former is still in progress). Most of the wonderful people in my life today I met throughout my years at school. My life would be so different were not for the dozens of wonderful human beings, even mere acquaintances, that spiced it up. I remember how every semester and every class had it's "guest stars" - people I would know only at that time and for that course who nonetheless provided me valuable knowledge, companionship, and practical help. I remember fondly how big assignments and tests would bring everybody together through their mutual interests. Luckily, a lot of these folks would stay on to be recurring characters in my life, and it was always neat to pump into them on the way to class or be surprised to share a course with them again. Little interactions like this can make such a difference in the aggregate. I even loved the atmosphere - the diversity of ideas, cultures, and beliefs; the green spaces, the places to eat, the clubs, the air of optimism and hope. Sure, a lot of people were just commuters looking for a quick degree. But there were thousands of students looking to contribute to the world and do great things, however unrealistic or ephemeral their aims were. And I was connected to so many events, groups, campaigns, and other social gatherings that exposed me to so many events, ideas, people, and perspectives. The school apparatus and student body helped educate and inspire me as much as my education itself. In short, I'm going to miss school. But I'm also very relieved to be done with it for now. I feel so liberated not having something big to worry about, especially in light of my recent financial troubles. I'm going to have so much more time now (hopefully) to rest, socialize, and get my life in order. Most importantly, I can finally walk the walk, making sure to do something with my hard earned degrees while I work on getting a masters. As I speak, I'm searching for some local work and putting together a resume. Pretty soon I want to start contacting graduate schools and programs, and finding grants and scholarships. School isn't completely out of my life, and it's probably for the better. After all, one's education never truly ends.