Here I am, this beautiful evening of May, alternating between freaking out over term papers to finish and stressing over the rest of my life. After a solid seven years of university education, I am finally finishing in three weeks’ time. I feel a sense of elation and accomplishment at having come so far. When I stepped into WCC in June 2000, I was a timid and entirely unsure 17-year old. Over the next three years, I made friends, learnt my way around college, had my share of disappointments and failures, drove our beloved head of department up the wall with every rule broken, and above all, learnt the importance of humility. And, I said I learnt the importance of humility, not that I learnt to be humble. I am still struggling with that one. Then came my days at the University of Madras, as a post-graduate student of French literature. I learnt more than just French. I learnt to walk on eggshells around fragile egos, and to juggle work with school. At the end of it, I was happy to leave. I will not pretend to feel sorry about it. It seems like yesterday I landed in Paris, armed only with my knowledge of French and 200 euros in cash. Yes, you read that right. 200 euros. Every minute until I finally got into the Egide office here was an adventure. There, I got my scholarship money and my accommodation. It was scary.
Suddenly, I find myself nearing the end of my stay in Paris. I still have trouble believing that in three weeks, I will no longer be a student. That I step out of student life forever and into the world of work. It is both exhilarating and terrifying; exhilarating because it is a new way of life and a new world, and terrifying because I have never been anything other than a student in my life, even when I was a teacher at the Alliance Française. It is extremely difficult to imagine myself in a position of responsibility. And, as I said before, it is positively terrifying. At this point, half drowning in the interminable exposes and term papers, I find that I am on the threshold. I am at the threshold of a different life. And this is a life I will be living for the next 40 years. All this makes me wonder if I should have taken the plunge into the world of work at age 20 when I was young, naïve and idealistic. Four years later, I am more pragmatic, and as a result, more pessimistic. I retain none of the post-teen idealism of the perfect job. And that is not very reassuring. At this point in my life, I simply wait. I wait because I don’t know what else I can do. And I hope everything will turn out fine.