I have zero motivation to do anything. I always feel like this around this time of year. The sun is finally out, and I’m ready to put down the books, get up from my computer, and go enjoy myself–finally–after months in an academic lock.

But this year’s different because for me, the end of the school year means the end of my entire academic career. Being a senior just doesn’t feel real to me. Especially since I haven’t had any real university experience since COVID hit last year, I returned home and transitioned to remote learning. Being home has created this weird time suck. It feels like my life at Pacific has just started, but in the same beat, it’s coming to an end–and very quickly.

At the beginning of the month, I finished my capstone project–a massive undertaking that I began formulating years ago, and started to officially create last year. The homestretch to finishing that project was grueling. It took many hours, many phone calls, and a lot of time at the computer, writing and designing an entire website to house it. But the day afterward, my brain told me I was done.

When your whole academic career is leading up to one cumulative project, finishing that project marks an end. With my capstone project behind me, I began to lose motivation for any other work. I was burnt out, and at the same time, content with what I had accomplished. But the year isn’t quite over, and this is where my lack of motivation is coming to get me.

What’s more, on April 15, I returned to campus for the first time in over a year to receive my honors cord and diploma cover, walk across the stage in my cap and stole, and have a small, in-person–albeit brief–graduation “ceremony”…

…one month before actual graduation. That was the icing on the cake. My year was clocked. My time in the academic churn was wrapped. And now my brain has officially shut off, told me to ignore the large pile of other projects that need to be finished before I make my official exit, and to lie down and relax.

I can’t yet. But as I look back on my time in academia, and look ahead to whatever-the-fuck comes next, I can’t help but wish that this wasn’t really the end. I’ve loved my time in college–however messed up the pandemic made it. And as much as I’ve checked out, as much as I’m glad I can breathe for a moment in the wake of the projects, the sleepless nights, the 16 years that have led to this moment… I’m truly sad to see it end so quickly. 

I’ll miss you, Pacific, and you’ll forgive me if the rest of my work this semester is a little less than perfect.

I’m tired. – Bren Swogger

Photo: Bren Swogger during the Arts and Humanities graduation photoshoot on April 15 (Photo Courtesy of Bren Swogger)

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Bren Swogger is a journalism major at Pacific University Class of 2021. They currently live in Oregon City, OR. They are the creator of Indie/Alt Magazine, and also write for Vortex Music Magazine in Portland.

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