The cake seemed to glow in the lighting of the common room, our names etched in glistening pink frosting on its sides. There was a low buzz of voices throughout the spaces, increasing in volume as another student finished the test and joined us. Within 10 minutes the class had reassembled in the common room and the chatter became loud and excited.
We had finished our first final, finished our first class of our first semester of our first year in graduate school.
The test itself was anticlimactic; it was exactly what the professor had said it would be, with information that we all knew from our months of class. But to realize that we are almost done with our first semester felt momentous- still feels momentous. She brought out sparklers, and the fizzing sparks were the perfect touch to the sense of elation we all felt.
I have a feeling that the next few years are going to evaporate as fast as this first few months, and that I will one day look back and think “Boy, I wish I was back in school again!” After all, the older you get, the less happy you are to see a cake with your name on it.