#156: To a Graduating Loyola Senior on the Eve of My 10th Chicagoversary

April 26th, 2013

We weren’t close.

We didn’t have a special mentoring relationship.

I taught a 101-level public speaking class you put off taking for four years. You would ask if we could go home early for the day. You did that a lot.

But I was a very special teacher for you — your last one. The meager, forgettable class I did for a few extra smackers was the last class on the last day of an unbroken chain of classes that took you from learning your ABCs to, well, a meager, forgettable, 101-level public speaking course.

I never said it was a linear progression.

I do understand what you’re going through right now, your eagerness and anxiousness to start a new life. I understand because I’m going to drink beer with some friends on Saturday.

I’m celebrating my 10th Chicagoversary.

That wasn’t a linear progression either. There were a few years at jobs in the ‘burbs and a few months living overseas, but starting the day I sublet a high school friend’s Greektown apartment in April 2003, I’ve kept finding myself back in this weird, wonderful city.

For 10 years.

But back to you.

You’re starting a new life right now, champing at the bit and asking again if we could go early so the last class of your college career would be over. I could practically feel your urge to get away from the downtown campus, run back to your home and throw your old life into bags and boxes to cart off to wherever’s next.

You’re off to find your Chicago, the place you keep finding yourself back in. You’re off to find the place where you’ll live and work and suddenly realize you have all these friends. You’re off to see where it is you’ll be celebrating with some beer and buddies a decade from now.

You’re off to find a home, a life, a family, a new beginning to be followed by another new beginning and a third, fourth, fifth. You’re ready to find a life you want to live in and a place that will always and forever be your truest home.

So, yes, strange little student eager to find out everything that awaits. You can go early.

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