by Alexis Lounsbury
In my final residency at Goddard College, which was the weekend of my Spring 2014 graduation, I walked around campus in a haze. It seemed surreal that after worrying over study plans semester after semester, that was not the case this time. I tried to take in the smell of the rain on the grass, or how the quiet of the Pratt Library made me feel more in tune with what I was reading. There was a hum all over campus that seemed to feed the starving creative beast in me. Then, on that fateful Sunday afternoon, I clutched the hand of a good friend and fellow graduate as we walked into the Haybarn Theater for the last time, performing “With a Little Help from My Friends." It was a perfect choice, far better than my half-serious idea of walking in to "The Imperial March" from Star Wars.
As a student sitting in on previous graduation ceremonies, I would listen to the advisors explain the involved, professional senior projects of their students, and thought how impossible they seemed to be. I was plagued by insecurity--some graduates seemed to have produced over five hundred pages of work. They had stood before their peers all weekend, giving eloquent graduation presentations, and now they stood up to be erudite and thank everyone who had a hand in supporting them along the way. It didn't seem possible to my pre-graduation self, as I only had a seed of an idea of what I may end up with for my senior project. By the time I stood up to make my own speech, bumbling through tears, I understood how much work had really gone into it, but also what I was walking away with.
Receiving your BFA in Creative Writing at Goddard means that you have taken the seed of an idea and created a finished project. You've had the opportunity to learn theory while simultaneously learning how to work alone, something that can be difficult to become comfortable with, but you have mastered it. Throughout your undergrad, you have likely heard the phrase “trust the process” so much it's become an inside joke, but you have shown that you understand the creative process. More impressively, you have shown how you fit inside that process. What works for you? Writing in the morning or at night? In a cafe or in a closet with a desk from Wal-Mart, which you spent four hours assembling? You figured out your genre, but also how to research. You learned how to keep a deadline, and to become an expert in using criticism constructively.
From where I stand now, having been in the “real” world for a few months (it's the exact same as the previous world I was living in), my job is to tell you the most important resource you are graduating with: your fellow graduates. The incredible, talented group with whom you are graduating will never cease to amaze you, so make a concerted effort to keep these people in your life. They are entering the same difficult waters, armed with exactly what you have. They will be indispensable in many things, such as keeping your sanity in a difficult economy, entering the world of writing, navigating grad school, and the unfortunate possibility of moving back in with your parents. But chief among the reasons to stay in touch with your fellow graduates is to keep Goddard in your life.