I miss high school. How’s that for an opening statement?

High school was an adventure. I began the experience as naïve as a little female Frodo Baggins who vowed to take the ring to Mordor. By the end of our senior year, my friends and I sat around a table in our favorite hangout and lifted our glasses in a silent little cheer, knowing we’d been there and back again. We’d done it. Ring gone, Sauron dead, diplomas acquired. Boom, baby.

We had our scars, but we felt like we’d accomplished something—something we’d never forget. It was a journey, an adventure, and escapade through adolescence that I’d pay good money to live through again. That’s high school for you, folks.

I like being a grad school student. Really. I do.

But I would like it a little bit more if it didn’t feel like I was going to Mordor and back every. Stinkin’. Day. Really, people, how hard does getting an education have to be?

My friends are scattered to the four winds, one in Canada, one in Japan, one in Thailand, and the others might as well be there too, considering how much I get to see them. I feel like a small, insignificant and rather lonely hobbit wandering in a wide, unfriendly world, armed with nothing but my laptop and my wits—unsure of exactly where I’m going or what I’ll do when I get there.

You see, in high school we all had one goal: get a diploma so you can go to college. It was assumed that we could wait to decide what we’d do with our lives once we got to college, so we could all just focus on being teenagers trying to find our feet and survive high school. All we had to worry about was getting good enough grades to graduate. Pretty straightforward, right?

Well, now we’re through with both high school and college. And suddenly we have to figure out what we’re going to do with all of that future we’ve been handed. As the elves at the Council of Elrond told me, choose the right path through Cirith Ungol, and everything will be fine. Choose the wrong path in the maze, and you’re doomed to a life of misery.

No pressure.

Once upon a time, graduation only brought the question “what college will you go to?” Then graduating from college, it’s “where do you go?” Then there’s grad school graduation and the flood of questions: Where do you go? What will you do? Where will you do it? Who will you do it with? Will you be okay switching gears/ careers again for the nth time?

People ask me all these questions and all I can do is throw up my hands in despair and tell them that all I want is to live someplace quiet where I can build my empire and prepare for world domination.

All that to say: I’m going back to school tomorrow. I’m moving back into the dorms, I’m buying my textbooks, and I’m settling in to my final semester of grad school. And I’m looking back at my high school years and wondering which way did they go? And why can’t they come back? I’ll say it again: I miss high school, and I wish I could go back.

“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Thanks Gandalf. I needed a little sanity.