Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
As graduation approaches, I’ve become increasingly aware of my “lasts.” They’ve hovered in the background for the past eight months, haunting my senior year. At first, it was just the big events—the campus-wide occurrences that can’t help but bring a sense of closure in their final permutations: my last housing disappointment, my last football game, my last course registration, my last Marathon Monday. Lately, though, the smaller, everyday occurrences are starting to stand out. I had my last midterm a couple of weeks ago. My last paper is due on May 8th. I don’t make it up to the Chocolate Bar very often these days—I could have already enjoyed my last frappe and not even realized it. There was one last, however, that I’d been looking forward to all semester. Over the weekend, I finished the last book that I will ever read for college: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Before I enrolled in EN154, Intro to Adolescent Fiction, I had no intention of ever returning to the Potter books. Rowling’s seven-book epic is a story of growing up, facing your fears, and becoming the person you were born to be. Part of what made these books special is that I grew up alongside Harry, and I feared that rereading the books would spoil my memories. Goblet of Fire’s Yule Ball was my first middle school dance. Order of the Phoenix—my personal favorite—welcomed me into high school and teenage rebellion. Of them all, though, Deathly Hallows was certainly the timeliest. As I looked upon the end of high school, faced with the inevitability of saying goodbye to my friends, teachers, and life as I knew it, Harry finally confronted Voldemort. When all was said and done, the cathartic, happy ending was permission to move on. Harry, Ron, and Hermione had taken me as far as they could; it was time to start a new story.
That’s how it felt at the end of high school, at least. I thought I knew who I was, what I wanted, and how the world worked. The past few years of my life have demolished those naive assumptions. Any freshman who made it to even half of his Perspectives lectures will recall the most profound lesson of Socrates: “I know that I know nothing.” By the end of sophomore year, I thought I had internalized that lesson. Two years later, I’m still working on figuring it out. I do know, at least, that the person I am today would be
entirely unrecognizable to the one I was at the onset of college.
Truth be told, if I stumbled upon a Time-Turner and could do it all again, there’s a lot that I’d change about my time here. There are far too many who will join me at graduation that I didn’t get to know well enough, and there are a few that I probably would have been better off not knowing quite so well. I discovered some of my passions too late to fully invest myself in them. By the time I really figured out how college worked, it was too late to take advantage of all that it offered. To anyone who will graduate with a sense of total, complete satisfaction: congratulations. That is an impressive achievement. Of course, knowing that I could have done some things better doesn’t make what is soon to come any easier to stomach. For all that I wish I could change, Boston College made me who I am today, and I would never give that back. Leaving everything I’ve come to appreciate here and entering the real world is a prospect that, quite frankly, terrifies me, and I would hazard a guess that any senior who tells you otherwise is probably in denial.
At the conclusion of The Deathly Hallows, Harry embarks on a long walk to face Voldemort, his destiny, and certain doom. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed,” Rowling borrows from 1 Corinthians, “is death.” He finds himself accompanied by the ghosts of his family and friends, urging him on. Harry conquers his fear of the unknown and emerges from the experience forever changed. Not a bad model to aspire to, all things considered, though I could do without the whole “marrying your best friend and naming your kids after your teachers” bit. Anyway, our own walk on May 21 is an ending, but it’s certainly a happy one. For all my apprehension, I think I’m ready to start a new story.
Well, there’s another last. It’s been fun, everyone. Thanks for the good times.