Column: Walking The Labyrinth Of Senior Year
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
One week ago I was skidding through a rough patch of senior year. Roommate tensions at Mod 14 Bravo were at a record high, largely due to my actions during the past weekend. I had recently asked out a special someone, only to strike out worse than A-Rod in the playoffs. Most ominously though, I had just taken the LSAT, and was facing the daunting duo of law school applications and neglected schoolwork. I went to O’Neill Library on a Wednesday night to get work done, and promptly sank into an uncomfortable nap at one of the booths. My problems were both literally and metaphorically weighing me down.
Late that night I took a break from schoolwork, walked out to O’Neill Plaza, and called my father to discuss my post-college career. As befits an experienced and accomplished businessman, he calmly and astutely analyzed my chances for admittance to law school and detailed my job prospects. He told me everything that needed to be said, but nothing that I was ready to hear. I went into the conversation feeling uneasy and melancholy. By the end, I was staggering on the ropes, one knockout blow away from a complete meltdown. As he said goodbye and passed the phone to my mother, the words on the tip of my tongue were, “Mom, I’m scared.” I couldn’t bear to admit my fear, though, and instead choked out a brief goodbye. As I put my phone away, I looked up and saw dozens of students streaming past me on the way to the library, and yet felt completely and utterly alone.
I needed to pick up the pieces of my self-confidence, and fast. My feet, seemingly of their own resolve, carried me away from O’Neill Plaza. I glided past Gasson, behind Bapst, and suddenly found myself at the 9/11 Memorial outside the library. For those who haven’t visited this elegant and peaceful place, the 9/11 Memorial is a labyrinth. It is unicursal, which means the labyrinth has a single elongated path that meanders around the circle multiple times before arriving at the center. In a powerfully emotional moment a month earlier I had visited the memorial on Sept. 11 with my roommates. We slowly walked through the labyrinth before huddling together at the center, reflecting on the lives lost on that fateful day. In my current moment of crisis, I desperately hoped the memorial could provide me with comfort and guidance.
I slowly paced through the labyrinth in the drizzling rain by myself. Although I felt as though my life were collapsing around me, I trudged onward, hoping that the center of the labyrinth would bring answers. When I finally finished my journey, I crouched on the balls of my feet in the center of the circle for five, then 10, then 15 minutes. I reflected on the tragedy of Sept. 11, and my own personal troubles. I prayed for guidance, and courage, and hope for the future. After enough time had passed, I slowly plodded back around the labyrinth, behind Bapst, and finally to my personal desk and napping quarters on the fourth floor of O’Neill.
It’s been over a week since that nadir of my senior year. None of my first paragraph problems have actually been resolved. Roommate tensions in Mod 14 Bravo still simmer, occasionally alleviated through astonishingly bitter games of Super Smash Bros. I don’t expect to reenact scenes from The Notebook anytime soon. Finally, my law school application process is underway, with accompanying stress that dwarfs the similar experience of applying to BC. Since last week, however, I have regained an inner calm and confidence in myself. Although senior year will be stressful and challenging, I am confident that everything will turn out just the way it should. Despite its minimalistic beauty, the 9/11 Memorial goes virtually unnoticed for 364 days a year. For me, though, this forgotten treasure picked me up in my hour of greatest need.