It#039;s good to live in the present

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 29, 2003

This past weekend I helped friends celebrate their graduation from the University of St. Thomas.

I bought them silly cards about getting a job and throwing graduation parties to end all graduation parties.

Most of all, it was just fun to get everyone together and hang out again.

Email newsletter signup

More than a year has now passed from my own graduation from St. Thomas. And this Saturday will mark one year of working at the Austin Daily Herald.

It's odd to think back a year ago. At graduation, I didn't know if I had a job. I spent as much time with my friends as possible and we tended to avoid topics relating to "What's next?"

After the graduation ceremony last year, I went out to dinner with my family and opened graduation presents.

Then they dropped me off at my apartment. My roommate decided to take a nap. My other friends weren't back from their family gatherings yet.

Suddenly, I was alone.

And "What's next?" was all I could think about. Four years of college had flown by and as much as I had complained about all the projects, tests and papers, I didn't want that part of my life to end.

About an hour passed. I flipped through channels on television to distract myself, but nothing was worth watching.

The pit in the middle of my stomach didn't go away until the phone rang. A friend was on the line and plans were made to get the group together to hang out that night.

In a week, I moved out of my apartment and knew I had a job at the Herald. In quite the whirlwind, I was starting my adult life with a new apartment, a new town and new challenges.

So much has happened in this last year, there's no way to sum it all up here. I've learned a lot and met great people. Some highlights included covering President George Bush's visit to Rochester and the recount for the District 27 state senate seat.

But one of the things I find most valuable is that I've managed to keep in touch with many of my college friends.

As we get farther away from graduation day, however, it's going to be more difficult. Two of my friends married a week after graduation last year and moved to Florida.

One of the friends that graduated last Saturday is talking about moving to California. Another friend is thinking about moving down south.

I can't blame them. I moved away from the Cities as well. There is life after college and much to experience. For my friends graduating this year, I wish them luck with the job search. It's even tougher to find one this year.

But this past weekend, we were all together again to relive a little bit of the past. We joked around, had a few mini-adventures and added to the list of stories we'll be rehashing the next time we hang out.

We also pretty much avoided talking about the future. My friends probably see graduation as bittersweet as well and it's not pleasant to dwell on the bitter part of it all.

The weekend was simply for living in the moment and not worrying too much about where they'll all be in a few months.

Or a year.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at