Does anyone else feel like they’re experiencing the verses in “Work,” by Rihanna? Let’s be real honest, nobody knows exactly what she’s saying, but we all pretend to mumble along until she hits lyrics we can decipher.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been stuck mumbling along. Everything seems to be so fast-paced, be it in class or just in daily life, that I’m having trouble keeping up. I have brief spurts of confidence when I feel comfortable enough singing along, but those only last for a short while. The end of the semester looms, and there is so much I want like to accomplish before that time comes. Graduation hovers just behind, signifying the end of this chapter of my life, and there is so much I would like to process and understand before that change happens. After the day of graduation, I have three more days in Ann Arbor, and then I leave Michigan. I don’t know if or when I’ll be back. It’s going to be such a permanent shift that I want to make the most of the time I have here.

Before I graduate, I want to produce this capstone project, and make it amazing. I want to celebrate our hard work with my senior design team. I want to thank the professors and peers of mine that have taught, encouraged, and struggled with me through the past four years.

Before I leave, I want to finish my edible Ann Arbor bucket list. I want to watch the sun set over the Big House one last time. I want to spend rich, quality time with the people that have come to be so dear to me during my time in Ann Arbor.

I don’t want to trip over my words or myself when I do these things. I don’t want to be mumbling along—I’d much prefer the chance to sing along at the top of my lungs.

What do you want to do before you leave?

3 thoughts to “workworkwork”

  1. Hi Rachel,

    First, the edible Ann Arbor bucket list is so very real. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am going to spend a great deal of money in my last months here just eating. I, like you, don’t know when I will be back in this city, and I want to take advantage of all of its incredible food while I can.

    Second, I would love to complete both this capstone project and my honors thesis to a simple standard: the standard of pride. I want to create two things that I am very proud of. That may be more difficult to accomplish with my thesis, which has been subject to a lot of revision and complete re-write by my faculty mentor. It will be difficult to be proud of something that is not really my own. That puts a lot of pressure on my capstone project. It’s mine, and I want it to be great.

    Third, I would love to sneak onto the football field at night. I’m not prepared to say that a friend of mine has done this, but I’m not prepared to say she hasn’t. This is just a dream of mine. Getting arrested, however, is not, so who knows if it’ll happen.

    Finally, I want to spend as much time as possible with my housemates, not necessarily doing anything extravagant but just being together. There will not be another time when the five of us are in the same place, so I want to soak it up while I can.

    Actually finally, I want great pictures from graduation. I want to be able to celebrate my time here and remember what is hopefully an amazing day will all of my friends for years and years.

    For now, back to work.

  2. Rachel,

    So many things are on my list – and sometimes it feels like accomplishing all of those things would end up being more exhausting than fun with all of the schoolwork on the table. Kind of like you mentioned, there have been moments of slowing down for me, which have been wonderful, but then back to the grind.

    More than eating (although Ann Arbor has some great food), I’d love to experience as many coffee shops as I can before I leave town – get something fun and sit and read/journal/think and enjoy the various calm spaces around town. I’d love to sit on the field of the Big House one more time (marching band perks?) and hang out by the river in the Arb and go on more midnight adventures around town for McDonald’s shakes and late-night walking conversations. Mostly, I’d just love to make more memories with people I love before we’re separated by time and space. If that means nothing more than staying up late talking in rundown, messy houses and wandering bleary-eyed into work the next morning, that works, too. 🙂

    Thanks for a thought-provoking question, Rachel! I feel like I had a lot of ideas about this but hadn’t sat down and thought concretely about them at all. I’d love to do that more over the coming days. I’m still not sure where I’m heading after graduation or when my last day in town will be, but I’d like to adventure more and stress less until that day comes… Dreaming!


  3. Hi!

    I am very much resonating with the eating/spending money component of senior year, as mentioned above. I always knew that’d be a huge component of my final months here. One thing that does surprise me – the amount of terrible food I’m eating. Honestly, I would have expected to be blowing my savings at places like Sava’s or Aventura, but in reality my food money is mostly going to McDonald’s. That sounds odd, I know – but more nights than not, I’ve found myself driving around Ann Arbor late with my friends, talking and listening to music, and what could possibly sound better at 1 AM than a good old McDouble?

    Maybe I’m alone there.

    In any case, other things I want to do. Yes, finish this capstone project. Get good grades (unlikely), spend a lot of time with my friends (very likely – see grades comment) and other cliche things like that. But what I’ve learned is that cliches are cliches for a reason. Is driving around in the middle of the night with your friends a cliche? Yes. Am I still going to do it, and love it? Yes. Same goes for movie nights, going out to bars, etc. But at this point, I’m really not trying to discover anything new about myself or this campus. I’m trying to squeeze every last drop out of the things I love while I can. Maybe that’s limiting, but it’s the way I’m doing it.


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