I graduate from college less than four days before the Eleventh Doctor regenerates in the Christmas special, and I don't know which I'll shed more tears over.
I watched my first episode of Doctor Who (The Eleventh Hour) over Labor Day Weekend 2010. My roommates had gone home, I didn't have much homework to work on, and I thought I'd give the show a try. From his first words "Can I have an apple?" I was hooked. Who was this daft, impossible stranger in a bow tie, with a box that was bigger on the inside? In the next episode, "The Beast Below," Amy revealed the most important part: "Very old and very kind and the very very last...you couldn't just stand there and watch children cry." I finished the fifth season by the end of break, and completed NuWho by the end of October, as well as the first two seasons of the Sarah Jane Adventures.
Matt Smith is my Doctor. Not only is he the first Doctor I watched, but his whole character and interactions captured my imagination. He was like Gandalf, a wild wizard that we only caught snapshots of. He was a modern myth, like Odin the wanderer or Odysseus, seeking home. His whole life was so much bigger and grander than mine, yet he still considered everyone to be important.
Part of the reason "Angels Take Manhattan" hit me so hard was because the Ponds were my companions, just as Eleven is my Doctor. And watching them leave was a foretaste of the goodbyes waiting for me at graduation. I've watched that episode over and over--I've even dreamed of seeing them in the Christmas special, happy but unable to see him again.
In a way, it's appropriate that he'll regenerate days after my graduation. When I first watched The Eleventh Hour, I was a lonely, bewildered freshmen, still dizzy from orientation with no idea what I'd gotten myself into. Maybe I wasn't walking into trees, but some of the cafeteria meals were as rubbish as apples and beans. I had met some people, but I had no idea which friendships would last. And this Christmas, we'll both step into new stages of our lives.
My life after graduation is one big blank: jobs, housing, friends. It absolutely terrifies me. Likewise, the idea of Matt Smith being replaced gives me cold shivers; I still don't like Clara, so how can I adjust to a new Doctor? Change may be the only constant, but that doesn't mean I'm used to it.
I suppose the only thing left to say is, Thank you, Matt Smith. Thank you for introducing me to a wonderful, amazing show, with fifty years of history to reveal in. Thank you for your amazing range of performances, from the daftness of "Closing Time" to the heartbreak of "Angels Take Manhattan," the wild see-saw of "The Big Bang" and the development of a relationship with River. Oh, Moffat frequently drove me crazy with his cliffhangers, but you were amazing, both on-screen and off. I love the clip from Comic-Con where a little girl asks about the Weeping Angels and you said "Don't worry, I'll fight them off." That attitude--the mixture of seriousness and concern--is what makes you brilliant.
I'll miss you.