Alexander Brown/The Hoya
Alexander Brown/The Hoya

One of my older brother’s favorite anecdotes is about how his eighth grade class unsuccessfully tried to convince its uptight music teacher to let “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” be their graduation song.

Only a 13-year-old would think “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is a good graduation song, though. The song is about how nothing — not wind or rain or winter’s cold — can keep love apart. Its optimism is naive, but the melody is catchy.

I appreciate the sentiment, though it might be more applicable to my past than to my future. Last week, when my friends called me, no matter where they were, no matter how far, I would come running.

I never like it when my friends are upset, but as graduation approached, dealing with their negative emotions became especially hard. Every sadness, every breakdown, every moment of vulnerability reminded me of our impending goodbye.

Even though I want my friends to live happy, fulfilling lives, there is a bright side to their negative emotions. When they express those feelings with me, I feel honored and privileged to share their emotional burdens. In those moments of vulnerability, my most honest and deepest friendships formed. In those moments, I knew that I was not alone in my own struggles.

There are things I regret about the last four years: unnecessary all-nighters, half-hearted essay writing, an extra pitcher (or two) at The Tombs. But I will never regret secrets and stories told over milkshakes or burritos or bottles of wine.

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” fails to really honor Georgetown or the friendships I formed when I was here. And those friendships and that love are what I will carry with me. So which song is appropriate?

The Beatles’ “In My Life” strikes a deep chord. “There are places I remember / all my life though some have changed. / Some forever, not for better. / Some have gone and some remain. / All these places have their moments with lovers and friends. I still can recall. / Some are dead and some are living. / In my life I’ve loved them all.”

John Lennon and Paul McCartney capture my feelings with those words. Lennon considered it the first song he wrote that was actually art, not just pop music, because he finally allowed himself to be authentic, expressing his raw emotion. And that emotion resonates almost 50 years later, on the eve of my college graduation.

When I return to Georgetown, it will be a different place. Many of my favorite people will be gone. New South will hold a student center and a pub. Maybe Vittles will finally carry my favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry’s — Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Snack. But seeing Dahlgren Chapel or Healy Hall or The Tombs will remind me of these precious moments.

And when I am reunited with those friends with whom I will have parted ways, we all will have changed, for better or for worse. But today I am filled with love for my friends, for Georgetown and for the last four years.

There’s one song that might work even better: Disney’s blockbuster hit “Let It Go.” Not only did I hear it — and sing it — ubiquitously, but one line always gets to me: “I’m never going back, the past is in the past.”

Queen Elsa sings it bitterly, glad to never return, and sometimes I sing it that way too. My friends aren’t the only ones with sadness and regrets from the last four years. Rather than holding on to my anger — anger with myself, others, Georgetown, God — I need to let it go, or I can never hope for a productive and loving future.

But “Let It Go” is also a good reminder that even the good things need to be released too. It’s over. There are many things I can’t hold on to; trying to grasp them would be a waste of time. So while I’ll carry with me lessons and knowledge and love, I’m grateful for the things and people I leave behind. I’m grateful for the love I’ve been honored to experience on the Hilltop and look to the future full of optimism and hope.

Victoria Edel is a senior in the College. She is a former managing editor of The Hoya.

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