On Graduating

I am a man of habits, stability, and, maybe, random routines. It’s not that I hate change, I adore change in my life when I have full control over it, when I know how things in my life are going to take a new shape. If I’m not going to my favorite place for lunch, I’ll just need to make sure that the place I’m opting for is totally in line with my expectations. And even though the new place of my choosing satisfies my needs, I might just not like it. Because sometimes I just don’t feel like that place or restaurant, or anything in life. This is more of a certainty thing and change, at its best, isn’t associated with certainty. If something is going to change, it is very often not very clear how much or how it is going to change. Not being certain, I think, is what makes me dislike the concept of change or breaking a good old habit. But of course, I will try a new place around the corner (just like the McDonald’s that just opened up near my place few weeks ago), drink coffee at a Café other than Starbucks, or listen to a new podcast just for fun, watch a few videos on an unfamiliar YouTube channel. While doing all these, going to Del Mundo and ordering my pint is going to make me just as satisfied and happy, or just asking for a long shot triple Americano at Starbucks will effectively work out more than fine for me. Routine is just fine for me, maybe not very lavishly attractive for others. But things I have told are not the routines that make up most of my life, certainly they are the small things (referring to my secretive and untold little routines) that liven up our day. It is a routine of a lifetime, something so embedded into our lives that without it life itself might seem irrelevant. School. Or as Cartman calls it, skoool.

There you go. Hell of a routine. A place, actually multiple places, where you went, spent time, made friends, fought over, had the happiest and (possibly) saddest memories in your life… A place of learning as well as sharing and interacting. Something you have been doing so long as you knew that you are here on this planet. First politics, love, drama of every sort, almost any human action that we know take place at skoool. (Yes, I love Cartman way of things, or just skoool.) We do it for almost more than fifteen years. I’ve done eighteen years of skoool, during which I changed multiple elementary schools (I guess this is why I hate changing things!), had met great people, had some of my best years as a high schooler, learnt a terrific Germanic language and even mastered it, if I may say. Another four university years of skoool, one year in Germersheim, amazing friends and lecturers, many firsts… An unbreakable chain of a great many habits. An ordinariness I’ve gotten so used to that ending it seems not only plausible but also as something unfathomable, something that is definitely out of sight. In roughly two weeks, however, this ordinariness, or the catalyst behind my set of routines and habits, as I better call it, comes to an end as we graduate from university. In fact, classes are over even by now. The only thing we bear is what is left from class time, some articles to study before the finals and my graduation thesis. There is almost nothing else left about my Bachelor’s. For someone like me who likes the ordinariness of things, wishes an ordinary change of my life even in the face of unexpected events, graduation should feel like a nightmare. Everything in the known world of mine reaching its expiration date. Yet I don’t particularly feel much. Yes, I am sad that this huge skoool period is almost over and another unknown chapter is there. It is probably because I still don’t feel like I’m graduating. I’m really curious about what’s gonna come after and a bit worried about, you know, life thereafter. But what I’m currently enjoying is how my friends and I are going through different phases in our lives, feeling as if we are discovering a new celestial body. As I told you before, I don’t like change or ‘untamed’ change, or sudden change, or just not knowing. But getting into a new phase in my life gives me the wonderful opportunity to observe and grasp what we are going through and how we react, what we learn from it and, possibly, how we mature. Some of us are really worried about the prospect of not finding a suitable job, some, including myself, are likely to move to another city or country (hence, a range of endless possibilities),  a few are getting their last shots of student-life with internships, some are dreaming to move out from their family households, many are considering their relationships and ponder what they will do… There are so many different stories here, most of which may be familiar to a lot of people who have graduated and seen these changes take place in their lives. But these are just as special and peculiar because this time, it is my friends who go through these stages of life, and of course, me.

Alper, Burcu, Ceren & Ceren, and me celebrating a belated double birthday for Ceren and me

Just a few days ago, a few really close skoool friends of mine and I gathered at a local Café in Buca, which was supposed to be a gathering of all of us five in the last two months. It turned out to be a quasi-surprise birthday celebration for Ceren and me, as our mothers experienced the horror of giving birth to us only a few days apart from each other. It dawned on me as we walked back to our places in different neighborhoods of Buca that this thing, this life that I got used to, cafés where I meet with friends, the park that I go to for a quiet night-out (if you are a Bucalı, you know it’s Hasanağa), the streets that I run, various firsts of all kinds I experienced in my late teen-age years and early twenties (saying early sounds like I’m almost thirty but I’m a most teen-agery twenty-three year old who’s youngadulting at his best), and most of my university life is seemingly coming to an end in that friends, after they are done with Dokuz Eylül, my fabulous university, are planning to move to other parts of İzmir, or the country, almost no one staying in Buca. Things I love about Buca are there because of the people I love and care about, and I wonder if I will love the city just as much or my passion for it will diminish by time. I will, certainly, manage for the time I’m in the city but it will never be the same. Apart from all this melancholic talk, I must admit I love Buca. Hashtagging Buca in my Instagram posts is for the fun of it but at the same time I sincerely love this poorly planned wreck of a city.

When I came back from Germany, I found another İzmir different from the one I left. My bestie and two roomies graduated only a few months prior to my homecoming. Despite this sudden change for me, I somehow caught up with life and made new habits, saw how my ex-Symrniots went on with their lives and experienced the changes in their lives almost first-hand as we stayed in touch, even though I was melancholic during the first few months back home. I learned a lot from these exchanges, to be honest. I understood during my semester abroad, when my bestie uploaded a picture of us two on her Instagram with the caption “I have so much to say but you’re so far away,” that you can be just as close. Distance or differentiation in life conditions separate people but we still share the same roots and, to some extent, the same feelings.

This time, when the Bachelor part of my skoool ends, I will, for sure, experience a much bigger change in my life. Yet all of us will have new opportunities to make new habits, new routines, and new things in our lives to share with our friends, and looking back we will, I’m certain, see that we are who we are because of who we met, how we were together and what we did together. Uncertainty will prevail for some time till I get back the full control of my life and steer it as I wish. In the meantime, I will only look forward and enjoy my secretive routines as before and then, hopefully, begin the next stage of my skoool life.


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