The Chronicle of Post-Education: Not Just for Passing Notes – “Do You Like Me? Check Yes, No or Maybe.”

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I’m on the edge of my seat. Every time my phone rings or I receive an email, my heart races. It’s a terrible feeling – worse than waiting for a midterm or final exam grade, I’ve decided, because this is something that’s deciding my future: I’ve been waiting for two weeks to be accepted or rejected for a job.

At this point, I’ve literally put all of my eggs into one basket. After weeks of applying for various jobs, compiling my clips and even turning down an internship (Oh, unpaid work across the country, how cruel art thou!), it’s this one job or nothing.

But I still have yet to receive a response. Two interviews later, and they’re still deciding. Instantly, my mind jumps to the worst-case scenario, but my wonderful and hilarious co-worker Christina explained this theory to me the other day: potential employers have three separate piles – Yes, No and Maybe. A lack of response doesn’t mean they’ve rejected you (especially not after going through so many interviews – they’d at least tell you right away if they were saying no!) even though they haven’t hired you. You’re still in the Maybe pile and, while it’s not ideal, it’s better than the No pile.

So while I sit in the Maybe pile, I’ve had a lot of time to think.

And think.

And think and think.

The question on my mind was one a friend asked the other week at dinner: “What’s your favorite college memory?”

I hesitated and took my time staring around Yard House while I thought. Ultimately, I couldn’t think of one – not because my entire four years in Irvine have been miserable, but because they haven’t been at all. What’s strange to me about “favorite memories” is the realization that they are all subjective.

A significant memory for me might not be significant for somebody else … but does that mean it wasn’t significant at all? No, but for some reason I feel strange about putting value on it, as if the memory is weaker because the only person who treasures it is little ole me.

I can’t think of one favorite memory. Different things happened at different stages of my life that meant different things in those different moments.

I was known as the photographer back in high school, documenting everything for everyone. “I’m afraid I’ll forget it all someday,” I said to someone once. When I look back at those photos now, I can barely remember some of those moments. In some photos, I remember the exact details of the minutes and seconds leading up to the shot; in others, I’ve forgotten why it was photo-worthy in the first place.

I guess if I were to think about it in a broader way, if I were to think about my “greatest hits” (as “Lost” would have it), I could think of things. There are moments that have meant a lot to me, though maybe they don’t mean much to the person/people involved. I have memories that stand out to me, but I’ve always wondered to myself: how do other people feel about those moments too? Were they just as meaningful?

The obvious answer is: it doesn’t matter. Whether the person who shared a day or evening with you remembers it as vividly as you do is moot because we all perceive moments differently.

What’s meaningful to you may not be meaningful to someone else, but the unique memory of it in your mind and the feelings it personally evoked are what make it special. It’s how we classify favorites that others may not understand.

Late night talks in the dorms that go beyond simple introductions.

First meetings with best friends, from awkward beginnings to revealing confessions. Driving around Irvine at 2 a.m. while blasting music after a long day of difficult choices.

Sitting on a dock off Balboa Island with a book and my best friend.

Driving up PCH and not wanting to stop because it would interrupt the conversation. Hugs that make the worst days better in an instant. Everything about the pub. Three years of highs and lows at the New U …

Maybe I’m just being sentimental. After all, in about a month, whether I get the job or not, I’m leaving Irvine – a place that’s been my home for four years. I won’t miss it, to be honest. I need a city I can roam on my own two feet, a city with graffiti and efficient public transportation. But I’ll miss the reminders of the memories here.

When I walk past a place on campus that triggers a significant memory, I smile but keep walking. Leaving Irvine will be just like that, too: a smile, and then I’ll just keep going.

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