Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The end of an era

I just took my Washington license plates off of my car, and put on my freshly minted Utah plates.

I finally bit the bullet this morning and registered my car in Utah. My brother is getting married on Saturday (blog post forthcoming about thoughts on the end of that era) and I'm driving north for the festivities. The registration for my car expired in June of 2011, but I've been driving under the assumption that it's more of a bother for Utah cops to stop an expired out-of-state driver than just letting me drive around illegally. And my assumption proved true: I never got pulled over for expired registration (or any other infraction for that matter). But I am 95% positive that Washington police officers won't feel the same way and the instant I enter Washington state I'll get pulled over. So I had to register my car in Utah this morning.

Why does this matter at all? It was a late-in-life discovery for me that people might not actually love the state or hometown they're from. Weird. The same realization hit me about people's names (I love my name, so it's weird when people wish they could be called something else). I am so obsessed with Washington, it gets annoying. Every time I see a car with a Washington license plate, I audibly say "Washington!" and passengers with me a lot wonder why I'm allowed to drive when I have Tourette's. I tell everyone who wonders where they should go on vacation to go to Washington, I ask everyone where they're from in case they're from Washington and then we can talk about it, and I always hoped to go back to Washington so I wouldn't have to change my license plates.

I'm staying in Utah because I got a full-time job in Utah.

I started an internship (previously mentioned here) last November, writing content for a tech company's website. It went really well. So well, they offered me a full-time job that began in April. I enjoy who I work with, and what I get to do, and the experience I'm gaining, but it means that I'm still here. In Provo. I do recognize the positives to that but the stigma surrounding graduates to who stay in Provo is an odd thing to navigate. People always assume it's your last resort and while that was the case with me, it wasn't necessarily a conscious last resort. I would be happy to live in Provo, or at least stay in Utah (I have some beef with Provo government, don't get me started) but because everyone assumes that's what no one wants to do, it's weird to move on.

I graduated from BYU . . . almost.

That's one of the great things about this job: I was offered a full-time position without the contingency that I actually need to graduate. I know what you're thinking, hold your horses. I will officially graduate in June, but I participated in the convocation ceremony in April. Family drove down, we also celebrated my birthday, we laughed and partied, and focused mainly on me so let me tell you: best. weekend. ever. But again, paired with the staying-in-Provo bit and the not-actually-graduating bit, it was an unsettling feeling. What am I doing? I have a job, I'm graduating, I'm staying in Provo. With students and the perceived population who aren't moving on (who all really have jobs but have become the underground of Provo because people assume they're not doing anything valuable). Utah county is a weird, but potentially wonderful place.

The real conundrum of that weekend was the quintessential crisis of "I'm no longer a student" paired with "I'm still a student for seven more weeks." I did start working full-time which helped really demarcate the student era of my life but unfortunately it also put my motivation in this last class to "Get a C-."


Even as I'm writing this my thoughts are becoming as jumbled as last month was for me. "Laurie, what's the point?" Great question. Everything is changing and it's making me nostalgic, not sad. I love working full-time because I love money, but I do hate the boredom. I love not being in class any more because I've always hated school, but I do hate not getting the opportunity to sit at the feet of some amazing professors I've had the privilege of knowing the past five years. I love how fresh and new my license plates looks because they're not filthy yet, but I hate that it has become one more piece of Washington that's slipped through the cracks of my life expanding into whatever it's going to become. This isn't really the end of an era; these are the ends of eras, and in the long run that's really okay.