Talent to Burn. Literally.
Sweet spiced coffee and soft bread dipped in oil with a view of crumbling buildings, and the colorful laundry and satellite dishes that crown their rooftops — this mesmerizing slice of Morocco doesn’t lend itself to thoughts about college or life thereafter. I’m finally getting a tan! That’s my only thought right now (although my golden legs are marred by red welts, compliments of an evil, nighttime insect). Also I just learned of a trash vortex the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean (my fiance and I were Googling “size of Texas” so I could prove that Texas is larger than Morocco.). So I’m thinking about this trash vortex a little bit, although it’s a bit of a downer on a day when I’d rather be absorbing the sounds of young voices echoing through the streets and the enjoying the breeze against those tan, bug-bitten legs of mine.
Like the trash vortex, life after college is a bit of a downer for me to contemplate right now. I rarely wax sentimental about “best days” of my life, and I’m not scared of “growing up” or entering the “real world.” All of these quotation-mark-meriting clichés hold little weight with me. Life after college gets me down for more subtle reasons — most of them unrelated to my own life by any easily identifiable link.
There’s the bubble of college life that people talk about sometimes. I’m not sure how often it’s spoken of it the “real world,” but being inside it, we talk about it frequently at Lewis & Clark. Have you ever seen a bubble pop? With a surface so thin it seems unreal, a bubble is a stunning creation. Ephemeral, floating through the air on unseen currents, its skin shimmering every color of the rainbow. When it pops, the pop is satisfying and also beautiful — a delicate spray of color and moisture. And then after it pops? After the shower of graduation caps in the air, after the dizzy, buzzing, champagne night?
I said I wasn’t afraid of the real world. I’m looking forward to it. Moving back to Maine for a couple of years to live with my fiance, near my parents, near the ocean, near the clubs. Educated and inspired. But for me, the bubble metaphor captures the state of mind molded by liberal arts college life. Someone is always pushing you to stretch further, dream bigger… After college, the emphasis is on making a living, settling down — not floating, breathless. In the United States it’s easy to stay upbeat about post-college odds, even in spite of the sluggish economy today. In Morocco I’m always upbeat about my own odds — I have a plane ticket home to a comfortable, financially stable, and loving family back in the United States. But the Moroccan college graduates who set themselves on fire a month ago, protesting in front of Parliament, were desperately hopeless about their own odds. The bubble had burst.
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