COLUMN: The Present Is A Present
Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 23:09
In the early hours of Sept. 3, when the sun was just beginning to peak, I arrived for my first class of the semester. The air was muggy, the grass was soaked, and the trees were still holding fast to their summer green, but the sun seemed to glaze everything with that signature sense of anticipation and excitement of fall that we all felt walking down Linden. Three giggly girls stood in front of the eagle statue taking selfies, two guys walked into Gasson discussing Kantian philosophy, and I could hear masses of more students coming off the shuttle. I stopped rushing to O’Neill and tried to breathe it all in.
No, everyone, I’m not a freshman—I’m a senior, and although all seniors will never admit it, the reality is that seniors are more similar to freshmen than any other class year, as both have this innate fervor to live this particular year of their collegiate life to the fullest in the face of some sort of end. As freshmen begin their first year, they face the end of a beginning. No more thinking about how college life is like, it has already started, and it’s time to make the most of it. And seniors beginning their last year suddenly wake up and realize that after May 19, 2014, they will never be a college student again, and are left wondering whether they’ve lived this time to its fullest.
After we take off our philosophical lenses, however, we might not be left feeling so calm and reflective. Let’s be honest, these realizations can be pretty overwhelming. I mean, let’s face it—there’s a lot of stuff to consider. First off, how many seniors have seriously studied the way that they should’ve these past three years? Every college student has struggled with that ADD feeling where everything, even a TV commercial, is more interesting than writing that research paper. And what about those students who were too busy and overworked to get involved? Or those who were not busy but simply too lazy, and liked to mock things like PULSE and the ever-present, almost annoying call to “Get Involved” and “Set the World Aflame?” The encroaching reality that they haven’t really been involved in anything except for classes and, probably in the case of the latter group of people, some unmentionable recreational activities, must leave these students (and their resumes) feeling a bit empty.
But please, seniors, before you go on banging your heads on a wall over your GPA and perceived lack of involvement, remember what it’s like to be a freshman, and maybe then you’ll see how they may experience something similar by reflecting on their first few weeks at BC.
Freshmen come to college anticipating that their first year will be filled with memories of sage professors teaching life-changing courses countered by memorable escapades with soon-to-be lifelong friends. Unfortunately, after orientation, “Move-In Day,” and the tearful good-byes are over, college becomes this unfamiliar place populated with strangers who wear either a blank expression, a nervous twinge, or an overly-enthused brow. Two weeks later, not only is the place cold (literally and figuratively), but courses become overwhelming and professors a mixed bag, so now they are left wondering whether this is what the next four years are going to be like.
So, with both class years feeling a sense of disconnection, they might feel that the solution is to make the most of their remaining time here by joining every group and club, attending every social event, and trying to start conversations with random people in the Quad. “Making the most” of college doesn’t mean signing up for every club, group, and social event, nor does it mean having a jam-packed schedule, saturated with the hardest possible courses. “Making the most” of college means being the best expression of yourself, and sharing that with the world by doing the things that you love, like sitting on a bench and looking at the campus or taking a course that you are actually interested in, even if it may seem challenging. If you truly enjoy whatever you are doing in the present, there can be no room for achy regrets later, which is why the present is a gift to us now, and will still be in the future. So, if you see a senior or a freshman waltzing around campus, smiling as if they’ve just unwrapped a present, it may be because they have.
Editor’s Note: The views presented in this column are those of the author alone and do not represent the views of The Heights.