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Mid-year grads are seniors, too

It’s a beautiful California Sunday, and I am inside,

three cups of coffee and no words into a film

critique. It’s written in my head – in fact, it has

been written for a week now, but getting it on paper

is just absolutely impossible.

Getting most things done has been a trial this week

for reasons I am not entirely sure of, but I think are

becoming clearer the more I procrastinate.

Last Sunday, I turned 22. The only thing to

differentiate it from any other birthday was that I

barely celebrated and I started hearing this little

nagging voice in the back of my head say “you should

be graduating in May” over and over, making me almost

entirely ineffective as a person with things to do. I

cannot do them – I am fixated on the fact that I am

not graduating yet.

It is totally ridiculous. If anything, I am doing

myself a disservice by not getting my school work

done, risking further setback by cleaning and sorting

old mail instead of sitting down at the computer and< just pounding out the pages.

And now, since my paper is going to be late, it has to

be good – it can’t be any old slapdash job that I

throw together the night before it’s due, because now

I’ve had extra time, perhaps even too much time,

because the paper has gotten far more complicated than

necessary in my mind. At this point I could write a

book or even a dissertation on these films, let alone

a paper. I could write enough papers for a whole


…if I could just get any relevant thoughts out of my


But I am not graduating in May, and it is troubling.

I don’t think this problem is about me, really. It is

about my high school classmates. I went to one of

those small schools where everyone goes to college and

several people go to schools like Yale and Stanford.

Those aren’t the people I’m worried about, though.

The people I am worried about are the ones who have

left college for careers and are being rather


I’ve come across three classmates in t.v. shows or

movies, and I know two others are writing for

television. One is a model, another is a professional

basketball player.

What am I doing? I’m going to school, which is not

glamorous, not (yet) profitable, and not really that


I have already gone through this with a lot of these

people, too, which just compounds my inferiority

complex. These were kids with Prada prom dresses, who

got brand-new Explorers for their sixteenth birthdays.

They had huge parties and got to be in the audience

for the Oscars and the Grammys.

I wasn’t one of them then, and I’m not one now, but

being faced with them – their names in Dawson’s

credits, their picture in Interview – I feel like I’m

a whole lifetime behind. I’m 22. I don’t have a

career! I am not uber-fabulous. Alas.