Opinions, Column

A Bittersweet Sunset To Freshman Year

Walking from Upper Campus to the gym at 6 a.m. changes a person. One morning a few weeks ago, while walking to the gym, I witnessed possibly the most gorgeous sunrise I’ve ever seen. The sun glowed across the horizon, coloring the clouds shades of purple, orange, and pink that I’ve never seen before. Compared to the usual pale blue of the sky, the sunrise was the most picturesque backdrop for Gasson imaginable. Alone with my thoughts in the quiet of the morning and admiring the beauty of a silent campus, I realized something: There was only a month left of classes.

One month. Wow, where has the time gone? When I arrived on campus in September, I couldn’t even fathom reaching this point in the year. Part of me was just convinced that COVID-19 would thwart my plans for spending the entire year on campus. But thankfully, we’ve made it, and I am happy to report that the freshman experience is no longer “fresh.” The exciting newness of college has long worn off and I’ve been left to hobble my way through the rest of the year just like everyone else. Without a doubt, I’ve adjusted well to my new role as a college student, but at a cost.  

Right now, all I can think about is how tired I am. Before college, I thought I knew what it meant to be tired, but, boy, was I wrong. When I say that I could sleep for eight days straight and still feel exhausted, I promise I’m not exaggerating. While existing somewhere between the third and fifth floors of O’Neill, I often catch myself daydreaming about my pillow as my eyes attempt to focus on my computer screen. If that isn’t bad enough, I’ve become the CEO of the library nap. With my head resting on my bicep and my face parallel to the table, I award myself 15 minutes of peaceful sleep smack dab in the middle of the stacks probably three times a week. At night, as I walk across campus, sometimes I’ll pick up the pace so I can get into bed just a little faster and gain a few extra minutes of sleep. In my state of absolute exhaustion, I’ve made almost a game out of finessing sleep from wherever I can find it. 

On top of being exhausted, I’m academically overwhelmed. When I was in high school, alumni returning to visit campus would always warn seniors that the first semester of college was easy, but the second semester is when shit hits the fan. In my personal experience, truer words have never been spoken. Not to brag, but I coasted through the first semester of college. My classes were comparable to the ones I took in high school and I found the workload manageable. But this semester could not be more different. Instead of managing my work, I feel like I’m perpetually behind on all my assignments. No matter how thoroughly I organize my agenda, part of me remains convinced that in some deep, dark corner of Canvas exist thousands of assignments I’ve neglected to do or forgotten to submit. To combat this inner fear, I’ve started taking pictures of the “Submitted!” message Canvas flashes after you turn in your work. This way, when I wake up in the middle of the night unsure that I’ve submitted a paper worth 40 percent of my grade, I have my picture to assure me that not only did I submit it, but also that I am crazy. 

Also, who was going to tell me that freshman year is so emotionally draining? I would consider myself an extroverted person, but at this point in the semester all I want is to sit in the silence of my bedroom at home and stare at a blank wall for about a week. Trying to coordinate who to eat meals with, study with, and go out with on the weekends is basically a full-time job on top of a full academic course load. Then, slap on a minimum of five visits to the gym each week and just like that you’re aggressively overscheduled. Overall, just existing at BC requires a level of stamina that I clearly have not yet mastered.

But, there is hope! A light at the end of the stress-induced tunnel: summer vacation. Don’t get me wrong, that sounds incredibly appealing, but I’m not exactly sure I want to leave just yet. Although college is stressful, I still love it here—something I easily forget the minute things get hard. So, in the remaining days of the semester, I think it would be best if we all focus on the things we love about college instead of the stress and exhaustion. Without a doubt, the final weeks will be the most challenging of the year, but part of me still thinks that there is good to be found within it. Not that you should take advice from a person who takes screenshots of Canvas, but recently, I’ve found that focusing on all the things that make BC special has been the only thing that gets me through the week. Reflecting on and showing gratitude for the good is a much better use of time than counting down the days until school ends. Because in the limited amount of time left in the year, I’ve come to appreciate days spent with friends in the Rat, afternoon runs around the Reservoir, study sessions with classmates in Bapst, and of course, the way the sunrise looks next to Gasson.

Featured Graphic by Meegan Minahan/ Heights Editor

May 2, 2021