fall semester is the most lovely of the semesters. I feel relaxed as I walk onto a campus that is drifting away into the sleep of scarfy winter. I avoid the main thoroughfairs on campus & take a slow and quiet route to my classes. my stroll is peaceful, almost empty of other walkers save for two or three other souls. I feel deeply contented walking past the multi-storied brick buildings full of rooms where I have sat & learned for fifteen semesters. these places are sanctuaries in my mind, places I dearly love looking into & imagining my younger self inside learning some random bits of treasure that hopefully are still stored away in my mind. wandering on campus is nostalgic & magical. it is a place where I always feel that I belong more than anywhere else. somehow I feel as though I have earned this campus, these feelings, these treasured memories & thoughts. after all, fifteen semesters is a very long time to be in a relationship & somehow that's what I have with the campus, a complete & deep relationship.
I am enrolled this semester in "The Age of Milton," a class where we explore the contemporary authors of John Milton's time & end the class with a five week reading & discussion of his epic, Paradise Lost. it is going to be a phenomenal semester. the renaissance period is my favorite, after all, and I have my favorite professor teaching the class. but beyond what I will be learning from my professor & Milton, I will be learning something completely new that I really don't know how I will handle. I will be learning to say goodbye to this place, to my campus, to a place that brings me inexplicable comfort & joy. I fear leaving this place more than my final paper or comprehensive exam. I am so wrapped up in the rhythms of semesters, winter & summer breaks always broken by returning to class that I am at a real loss for knowing how the end of january will feel next year.
I will graduate in December with my Masters in English Literature & I feel caught between a sad disbelief & a sort of rushed sense of the end. "bitter-sweet" sums up my feelings almost exactly.
pray for me. this is going to be the hardest academic semester of my life, but beyond that I expect it to be one of the most difficult for my sentimental & romantic mind as it is forced to say good bye.
It seems most profound to me that I will read Paradise Lost this final semester. The title echoes in my heart as I will learn the meaning of my own paradise lost.