Trying to Be Here

In Post-Grad Limbo

By Shannon Palus

Even in the final moments of my last evening as a student in Montreal, as I sat in a park down the street from McGill University, where I’d spent most of the past five years studying physics and working on the student newspaper, somewhere very far away was on my mind. “Idaho Falls.”

I had been repeating the phrase all day, trying to give it meaning. Until that morning, I could barely locate Idaho on a map. “Idaho. Idaho! I mean, should I?” I asked my park-sitting companion, Alyssa. “Like I should go, right?”

Yes, of course.

Until that morning, I had no specific plans for post-graduation. My laptop was caked with thousands of words of journals, lousy fiction, short essays that became nothing—in addition to some things that had been published in a small handful of real, national outlets, lest you (like me sometimes), begin to believe I’m a fraud.

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Shannon Palus

About Shannon Palus

Shannon Palus is a freelance science writer whose work has appeared in Discover, and online at ScienceNow and Scientific American. After graduating last April from McGill University, she spent the summer interning and exploring in Idaho Falls. She lives in Philadelphia. Her website is

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