Odds Are, You Won’t Have to Look Far



I'm not good at transitions. Never have been. I cried my first week at Ramah overnight camp, moped around after returning from my high school semester abroad and remained awake the entire night before leaving for university. I guess I don't like change. So, imagine the aftermath of a transition as big as college graduation.

I have been officially out of the bubble of academia for several weeks and I'm not sure what it means. I don't feel like an adult, but I'm no longer a student. (And they don't offer discount movie tickets to confused 20-somethings.)

My fellow classmates and I have officially hit limbo. There is no longer a clear matriculation pattern or a guidance counselor telling us where to go next. Perhaps the scariest part is that it feels as if we are on our own.

So where can I find comfort in a world that is no longer defined by research paper deadlines and summer vacations? Thankfully, I've always had a little help from a song:

"Wherever you go, there's always someone Jewish.

You're never alone when you say you're a Jew.

So when you're not home

And you're somewhere kind of new-ish,

The odds are, don't look far 'Cause they're Jewish, too."

I'm not going to Amsterdam, Disneyland or Tel Aviv. In fact, I am staying in Washington, D.C., the city I've called home since 2004. But things are changing: I don't have the guarantee of friends or advisers who will tell me how to do my job, but I do have the guarantee of Jewish community and the home that exists for me within it.

For the next year of my life, there will always be a Shabbat service to attend on Friday nights, a kosher chicken breast to buy at Trader Joe's and a Sunday school class to teach. Judaism has my back.

That's the thing about belonging to a community — you're never truly on your own.

Scarier than being on our own, perhaps, is the uncertainty that accompanies college graduation. I anticipate sleepless nights, butterflies in my stomach and maybe even a few tears, but my relationship to my religion, culture and community will remain a constant support as I forge a new path for myself as an "adult" –whatever that means.

I'm not good at transitions, but there is comfort in knowing that even when things are "new-ish," I never really have to go through them alone.

Ariel Warmflash, who grew up in Elkins Park, is a graduate of George Washington University, where she studied theater and dramatic literature. She currently works with Arena Stage as a teaching artist and theater educator. A version of this article first appeared at ritualwell.org.


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