With the grad fair taking place in Keefe, theses being completed and senior photos flooding Facebook timelines, the fact that graduation is just around the corner has become increasingly clear. Many seniors, overwhelmed by emails and impending deadlines, are already feeling the swirl of emotions that graduation brings. Amidst all of these feelings, there likely exists a small feeling of regret: regret about that class they didn’t enroll in or that risk they didn’t take. Some seniors jokingly live their final year of Amherst under the mantra of “senior year, can’t say no.” The mantra might be problematic, but the spirit of it is worth thinking about. What would it look like to embrace this mentality, with a better sense of balance, the second we stepped foot on campus? Might we have fewer regrets?
Of course, the ability to live by “senior year, can’t say no” across all four years depends on maintaining some sort of balance. In order to survive through and graduate from Amherst, we must have some moments of hard work and make tough choices between what might be the “fun” thing and the “responsible” thing to do at different times. There might even be moments where those two things align. But incorporating more of the possibilities of the senior year mentality into lived experiences across all class years could result in deeper satisfaction for all students.
Senior year has also become a time to reflect on the bonds formed throughout the past four years and the effect they had. But this reflection shouldn’t be limited to the past and solely be done in retrospect. We must acknowledge our friendships as they happen and take better stock of what happens inside of ourselves. Friendships shouldn’t only be valued when a person is about to leave, but constantly acknowledged, even as they are just forming.
While first years can claim that senior year is far away, the distance of time is merely an illusion. Saying “no” and waiting until you “can’t say no” risks losing out on all the “yes”s that you could’ve said along the way. Too many underclassmen wait for an arbitrary time frame to take the reins on their academic exploration, but confusion doesn’t simply dissipate with time. Choosing to engage and attend to daily life will result in a transformed Amherst experience that would otherwise be impossible.
Of course, senior year comes with significant stress. Seniors think about what’s going to come next, living in constant awareness of the transition they are about to undergo. But along with that constant awareness of what’s to come next, there also exist satisfying feelings of nostalgia. Periodically reflecting on our memories gives us a better understanding of where we’ve been and might help create a clearer understanding of where we want to go. The Editorial Board does not urge underclassmen to take constant stock of their past experiences and live solely in the past, but rather to take more moments to appreciate the beauty of Amherst and everything that seems to come crashing in the final few weeks of our Amherst careers. Perhaps then we can avoid the panic that comes with the last few weeks for seniors and reach a more satisfied feeling as our final Amherst days come to a close.