My kitchen counter has seen a lot of things in the two years I’ve lived in my current apartment. An army of ants has marched across the peeling Formica, only to be crushed by the might of my Windex-spraying skills. Christmas lights have adorned its edges since last Thanksgiving, and sparkly snowflakes still hang above it from our last Christmas party.
It’s seen shots of every kind, beers of all calibers and spills of every sort. It’s been the location for countless home-cooked meals - elaborate romantic dinners, pizza-packed girls’ nights and one particularly memorable fried food extravaganza during last year’s April 20 celebration. My kitchen counter has been the site of breakups and breakdowns, make-ups and make-outs, comedy and tragedy.
Now, my kitchen counter holds something different. It’s bright yellow, it’s the size of a piece of notebook paper and it’s folded into thirds. It has an identical copy of itself sitting right next to it, the only difference between the two of them is the name on their address labels. It’s the announcement reminding and my roommate and me to pick up our caps, gowns and other graduation memorabilia at the annual Grad Fair in two weeks.
And it is freaking me out.
The reminder itself is simple - just a few words on a piece of blindingly yellow paper. No big deal. But what it represents is a lot more complicated. That piece of paper represents the inevitable end of all those moments my kitchen counter reminds me of.
All the inebriated Isla Vista nights, all the lazy Saturday afternoons, all the girls’ nights in making mountains of frothy frosting on-top of freshly-baked cupcakes and all those morning afters spent nursing steaming cups of coffee and frantically checking Facebook for incriminating photos from the night before. Almost four years of college, almost two full years spent in the same Sueno Road apartment.
That kitchen counter has seen it all. And, so have I.
Now, as the distant date of graduation gets all-too-close and all-too-real, I can’t help but hate that little piece of paper for reminding me that there are only two months left to go. I know I’m not the only senior feeling it either. Last night, I spent the better part of the wee hours of the morning consoling a crying friend who - despite having a job and a future all lined up for next year, something so many of us have yet to accomplish - could not get over the fact that the clock is ticking on our college experience. And, as the minutes go by, it’s hard not to have a bit of a panic attack about the whole thing.
Which is why I’ve decided to do the opposite. Rather than letting that little yellow piece of paper taunt me with its neon-colored confirmation that college is coming to an end, I’m going to look at it as a challenge.
Three and three quarter years down, seven weeks to go. How can I make the most of it?
I guess the kitchen counter is as good a place as any to start. With its many memories, it’s certainly a tangible symbol of all the good, the bad and the ugly that made my college experience what it has been so far, which is why I plan to take all that energy that I could be channeling into panic and instead put it into finding ways to make more of the good, less of the bad and as few of the ugly as possible. (Especially when it comes to those incriminating Facebook photos.) I want more lazy afternoons, more wild nights and more morning afters than ever before. I want every second of the last seven weeks to count towards my college experience like the grind of work and school has never allowed it to before. For the next seven weeks, I am a girl on a mission. Mr. Piece of Paper, I accept your challenge. Now, if you’ll kindly make your way to the corner of the counter, I have a row of shots to line up.