The Last Ride Up
Thinking about my last ride up to Buffalo is a scary thought. Seemingly not too long ago, I sat on a JetBlue flight heading to Buffalo for my freshman year. I remember the excitement, fear, and expectations I had on that day. Three and a half years later, I feel the same way, but for different reasons. At the end of it all, I think what scares me the most is the haunting notion that I wasted what precious time I had in undergrad. None of the expectations I had of college were close to being remotely fulfilled but that might not have been a bad thing. I had a vision of what college needed to be like for me and I quickly realized it wasn't going to happen in Buffalo. My plans were to transfer schools and I spent many nights researching the process, but ended up deciding against it. When I think back to it, I don't remember why I stopped. Maybe it was just God.
I'm not sure if I regret staying in Buffalo. When I visit other college campuses, I tell myself I do, but when I think of the whimsical 4AM talks, I don't. There are so many things I dislike about my school and only a few things I love. The things I love, however, are impossible to think about losing.
I hate the "what-if" scenarios that constantly pop up in my head. The grass, they say, is always greener on the other side, and that's the case with thinking about choices. It's funny, having a fleeting idea that a campus I visited for a day or two might have been everything I missed out in Buffalo. And to be honest, it quite possibly might have been true: going to Buffalo was a mistake.
If I had a list of things I had hoped to accomplish by the time I graduated, I don't think it would've looked any bit completed. It's not that I haven't done anything in college, because I did a ton, but more so because I hardly did anything I wanted to do. I never had a sappy, romantic, controversial night walk by the flowing river on campus. I earned no distinctions or salutations worth mentioning and I never even studied on the grass during a sunny day. Instead, Buffalo gave me the opposite of everything I wanted.
But those things weren't necessarily the things I needed. Instead, I think Buffalo quietly spoon fed me the little things I needed to grow up. From doubt to heartbreak and sadness to hopelessness, these were the challenges God had ironically bestowed upon me. I'll leave Buffalo with tons of bad memories but with an everlasting hope to make plenty of better ones in the future.
The product of my time in Buffalo comes in the shape of every word I type. Somehow, someway, I type these things exactly because of my time in Western New York. It's crazy, isn't it, to think I wouldn't be writing this had I gone anywhere else. Every thought and idea coming out of me is a direct result of all the good and bad I experienced in Buffalo.
In a few months time, it'll all come to a halting end, and I have no idea what I'll be doing next. I might want to go back to the start of the semester, plead and beg to start everything all over again, but come to the sad realization that life has passed this stage. Maybe I'll cry, maybe I'll throw a tantrum. I'm already planning for the night I start writing my goodbye blog post. For the first time in four years, my legacy in Buffalo is no longer being built up, only torn down.
At the end of the day, Buffalo will be telling me to move on and there's little I can do about that. Then again, perhaps it's just something I need, not want. It'll be like the JetBlue flight again, except this time, I'll be driving my car down, back to something more familiar but more foreign that I'd like it to be. I don't know if I ever want to visit Buffalo but I wouldn't be surprised if I did.
Yeah, I'll miss college a lot.