It’s strange to be back at Harvard as a senior. Many of the buildings, spaces and social settings that once felt forbidding or intimidating are now familiar and sweet, freighted with associations and memories. For most seniors, I believe the campus feels more comfortable and navigable than ever before. But this semester, in an unexpected way, Harvard feels brand-new to me again. I’ve been looking at my peers and surroundings with something like the convict’s heightened consciousness of being alive. The clock is ticking, and these are experiences to savor – days to feel in their fullness.
My senior friends have already started to talk about their “lasts.” The Last Fall Semester, the Last First Day of School, the Last Fall Formal – even the Last Move-In Day. While it may seem like we’re prematurely eulogizing our time at Harvard, I prefer to think of it as a way of noticing – a way of establishing ourselves in the very present moment. It’s our way of honoring the traditions and quirks of undergraduate life that we’ve internalized over the past three years.
Amid the excitement of year number four, and the relief that comes with reaching long-awaited milestones, part of me deeply envies the incoming class of 2015. The grounds are graced once again with a Yard full of freshmen, most of whom have only vague plans for the next four years. To them, college is a series of unknowns stretching into the future, studded with manifold new beginnings. While they’re picking and choosing their favorite Student Clubs and course-loads, I’m hustlin’ to fill my final Core requirements.
But then a thought occurs to me: In many ways, I can still take advantage of the very same on-campus possibilities as the first-years. Sure, it’s too late to change my Concentration. But in most other aspects of campus life, senior status doesn’t preclude me from joining a club or a sports team, or from making new friends, or from trying courses in a different field. Boston is still waiting to be discovered, and there are still spots on campus that seem mysterious and unexplored. To my fellow fourth-years, both at Harvard and elsewhere: let’s not forget that we still have an entire year of college left before us, and that new beginnings are for everyone.
Tags: Senior Year
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