I have about a month left until I start graduate school, and everything is finally starting to feel real. I feel the same way that I felt in the weeks before my wedding, watching everything that had only been a fantasy up until this point crystallize into reality.

In the past, I would secretly pull out the title of graduate student when no one was looking and roll it around on my tongue, testing it out before quickly setting it aside, careful not to jinx myself. It was a title I’ve wanted since high school, even more so than college student. To be a grad student, in my eyes, was to be a college student that people took seriously. I know that’s not actually how the world works at all, but it’s how I felt (and feel).  It’s what I spent my entire college career working towards, with only the certainty that nothing is certain when it comes to graduate admissions boards.

Now, I’m signing paperwork and getting my own office (my own office!) and finalizing my TA work schedule and I am so excited.  I understand that once the glamour and excitement wears off, there is going to be a lot of hard work and there will be many times when I doubt my ability to handle what’s in front of me. Just like in marriage. And I plan to blog about those times, too.

But I’m finally starting to understand, to really grasp, what everyone means when they say that the best things in life are worth the work it takes to earn them. No dream worth pursuing is going to be found at the end of a smooth road, and my dreams are no exception.

And I’ll be honest- I’m not entirely sure what dream lies at the end of this journey. There are so many ways that this road can diverge in a yellow wood. One close friend of mine described me as a pirate- someone who isn’t content with finding a single port in life, but who must constantly travel and sample from all that life has to offer. I wholeheartedly agree. I don’t know where I’ll be in five, ten, fifteen years, and there are times when that terrifies me. But I am confident that I am taking my first steps in the right direction, and that’s all I can do at this point in my life.

So in a month or two, I might be whining on this blog about any number of grad-school woes. But for now, I am excited down to my bones for this chapter in my life to start, and I’m going to celebrate that feeling. 🙂