If I May: Grappling with Senior Year

As of writing this article, I have not yet arrived to campus. In fact, I haven’t even made concrete plans to head up to Amherst. At first, I assumed this lack of planning was due to my chronic procrastination, but upon reflection I realized that it is likely due to some increased anticipation about this year of college. I will be a senior, along with the rest of the Class of 2019. To write those words — “I will be a senior” — and to think about how this is my last year of college is truly astounding.

The cliché tells us to cherish our years in college as they’ll be gone before we know it, and now, right before my final year, I feel the truth of that. I felt the same as I watched some of my closest friends walk across the stage during Commencement this past May. In many ways, my time at Amherst has flown by. My sister is about to leave for her first year in college; I remember arriving to Stearns Hall for my first-year move-in like it was yesterday. Since then, I’ve met close friends and met people just once, joined and quit club sports, taken classes I’ve loved and classes I’ve hated. I’ve attempted to go out on a Saturday night, only to end up in Schwemm’s at 10:30 p.m., sharing an order of mozzarella sticks. I’ve walked from a closed Frost to Merrill at 1 a.m. to finish a paper I saved for the last minute. I’ve rejoiced over both the elimination of Noodle Bar and the addition of Mac ‘N’ Cheese Madness. I’ve performed improv comedy, jazz and Bruno Mars covers. Another cliché says time flies when you’re having fun, and while I wouldn’t classify all of the above as fun, I would say I’ve experienced a positive connection to Amherst — or at least its people — while I’ve been here.

Yet, three years is a long time. While it feels like my first day on campus was yesterday, I certainly don’t feel like I did then. These past three years have been perhaps the most important of my life in terms of personal growth, and I can’t imagine I’m unique in that way. College is certainly its own enigmatic bubble — what I described above certainly reveals that. However, college is also where one needs to become more independent than they ever have been before. We have to grapple with our future, and we often have to do it alone.

So, as I rapidly approach senior year, I have a curious mix of anxiety and excitement. This year will hopefully be a joyous cap on a good run at Amherst. However, it will also be a new beginning of sorts, as my priorities will shift from my collegiate present to my “real world” future.