Daoud: Everything is changing, but that’s OK

Sarah Daoud

The other day someone called me an alum.  It was nothing short of horrifying.

The truth is, I don’t know how to exist outside of Northwestern. My four years here have been more formative than I ever could have imagined, in all the necessary and strangest ways.

I became a feminist, vegetarian, sex-educating, free-pizza-hoarding flip-cup champion at NU. I became a painter, a longboarder, a playwright, a skinny dipper, a neurotic library troll, a sorority sister. I’ve gotten drunk at a professor’s house, accidentally quoted “Mean Girls” in class, non-ironically suggested someone “stick it to the man” at dinner in Sargent and then gone on to do the Cupid’s Shuffle at a frat party later that evening.

I’ve woken up at the ass-crack of dawn to start drinking. I fell in love. I danced for 120 hours. I snuck into Lollapallooza. I’ve fallen asleep on the rocks, hung out on campus building rooftops — my personal favorite is the Block Museum, but everybody’s different — got piercings that devastated my parents and gone with friends to get their tattoos after a boozy brunch in New York City, one inspired by Harry Potter and the other a prayer. A cement truck driver helped me parallel park my car once after he watched me try and fail for nearly 20 minutes.

I’ve had a professor email me back to redo my “joke of a paper” and turn it again by morning, or drop her class. Granted, I wrote it in 30 minutes, and it was truly garbage, but if that doesn’t toughen you up, nothing will. Then, somehow, I got an A in her class.

I don’t know what happens when I leave, or who I become when I’m not running around like a deranged person, making it from Bobb to Parkes Hall in three minutes flat. Will it ever be the same?

I hear it won’t be. I hear it’s better, that it’s worse, that it’s lonely. I hear that you have to stop drinking so much, that it’s weird to make friends, that it’s an adjustment.

What I’m trying to come to terms with is that maybe it doesn’t have to be the same. Sure, college is a special experience, and nothing can replace it — but is that so tragic?  Is it OK to live a new kind of life, or am I going to miss today, right now, forever? And why am I asking so many questions in this column? Am I Carrie Bradshaw or something?

I don’t have all the answers (read: I don’t have any answers), but maybe that’s not what life’s all about. Maybe it’s about doing what’s next, because if you don’t, then how will you ever be that wrinkled person who did it all, who lived big and full and true?

What I’m really getting at is that yesterday I bought a hoodie that says “Northwestern alum” on it. I’m wearing it now, and I’m starting to feel okay about the whole thing.