Closing Time

This week, I am finishing my undergraduate career. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air right now with all that’s going on, and unfortunately for the graduates of any level, it means a loss of closure. At the time that I am writing this, I should have already finished all my finals and, instead of studying like I am now, I’d be out celebrating my final days as a TCU student with the friends I’ve made over the past four years.

I’ve had many classmates and friends who have graduated, and getting to see everything that they got to do leading up to getting their diplomas was a celebration I was looking forward to. Between senior pictures, the senior banquet, ceremonies, saying goodbye to professors, my sorority senior send-off, I was ready for it all. I was even looking forward to staying at the bars on West 7th throughout that last week until closing time.

It parallels with college, in that once you’ve found your place, it’s the best time ever. At some point junior or senior year, you feel ready to move on to the next stage of life, whether it be grad school or traveling or starting a professional career. And then you get caught back up in the life heading into the final months, and you are making the most valuable memories of your college career as the final call for celebrations occurs leading up to graduation.

Here’s the thing about closing time: you never seem to realize that it’s happening until it is. You enter the bar at some point in the night, and eventually a song comes on and you’re dancing with your friends, having a really good time. At some point, there’s usually a lull in the excitement and you’re wondering if you’re done for the night. But before you can get everyone on board or order the Uber, another song comes on that everyone loves or you all order one last round of drinks, and suddenly the night is back in motion. But then, in the height of fun, everyone begins to leave and you initially wonder why. Looking down at your phone, you realize that it’s 2 AM and, yes, it’s closing time. So you’re out on the sidewalk with your friends, juggling between calling a ride and figuring out where you are all going to get a late night snack so that the night doesn’t end right then.

Graduation is our closing time. Obviously, this didn’t happen for me and a lot of other college graduates this year. Instead of making it to closing time, the bar closed early and we were all sent home alone. All the fun stopped after spring break, and suddenly the memories we were looking forward to making in our final moments as college students became just thoughts of what could have been as we take finals online in our childhood homes in towns we didn’t think we’d be returning to for a few months. What should have been sentimental celebrations have been turned into Zoom calls with terrible quality, recorded videos that lack emotion, and the overall feeling that everything you were looking forward to isn’t going to happen. And if you are fortunate enough like me to have some of those celebrations delayed rather than flat-out cancelled, it’s a feeling that we still have to wait despite feeling like it’s time to move on.

Right now, this is the best anyone can do, and with the circumstances at hand, there’s no other way this could play out. We are living through crazy times where things like graduation that are usually taken for granted just can’t happen. This isn’t a call for sympathy or help, we are not the most unfortunate in general nor in this pandemic. Rather, it’s a call for understanding. Things are crazy right now, and hopefully they will get better. Hopefully we’ll be able to go back to work, shop for fun, and gather in groups of more than 10 in the near future. Hopefully we are close to going back to normal. But understand that in the case of graduates, the time for normal has passed. There won’t be anymore time spent in classrooms, no more in-person study groups with friends, no more Greek chapter meetings or visiting professors in office hours. There won’t be a make-up for the spring formal that didn’t happen, or the late nights that would have been spent in the library. There will be goodbyes that never happen because our lives are changing direction before we planned on it. Sadly, there are people we thought we would see the day after Spring Break who we may never see again. For my graduation story, there will alway be an absence of closure.

It shouldn’t have ended this way, but it did. And that’s a reality that I need to come to terms with, as well as everyone else who was a part of the class of 2020. It may make transitioning into the next part of our lives harder, it might make it easier. Only time can tell. It’s a bitter ending to years of dedication and hard work, but there’s light at the end of every tunnel; we just need to find it.


4 thoughts on “Closing Time

  1. Andrea Garrity says:

    Wow, this was wonderful and sad at the same time…..You are quite the writer…you have a wonderful way of expressing your self. You certainly made the most of your 4 years at TCU………probably more than most. I am so proud of you. Love you, Gram xoxoxo



  2. Anonymous says:

    That is truly an amazing summary for your college years!! Yes, it has been a very trying time & new learning experience for us all!! We only have an 8th grader finishing in a private school and he is leaving without all the celebrations and traditions that previous years have expressed. And that is also sad!!! Congratulations for having a wonderful college experience!! Enjoy all that is ahead for you!!


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