As the year begins to reach its conclusion, we are overwhelmed with emotions that can only be explained through 1980’s power ballads: stress and lack of self-worth, all mixed in combination with rapturous joy at the fact that we will never have to trudge through the God-forsaken corridors that have housed all our fears and triumphs and documented them into rigid transcripts that supposedly determine our future. At least for another three months.
For a senior with only two weeks left in his college career, I can safely say that it’s been a heck of a year.
Aspects of the college that I thought were set in stone has quickly changed in new ways through the four years that I have attended Maryville College. It was here that I witnessed flames rekindled or flickered out, witnessed the gradual change of a student body, with the upperclassmen setting out to carve a niche in the “real world,” and the green as grass freshmen just beginning their own journey through the academic crucible known as MC.
One thing that ached my heart and frustrated me to know end was the existence of the social “cliques” that began to manifest once the year had begun. I had seen it time and time again: the athletes circulated primarily among each other, some daring to venture outside their social group to most athletes of another sport, the prudent academics, the misfits, the artists, theatre kids and music majors, all creating the college’s student body. True, we all possess dissimilarities that cause us to misunderstand one another, but there is one crucial aspect that we all have in common: we have gone through the wire.
We have all had the sleepless nights attempting to finally complete the 10-page paper; we have all been at the brink of tears from sheer frustration at the institution that held its promise that it would “stretch our minds,” some of us even breaking down altogether. Every perfectionist that depended on their grades to validate their own intelligence, every student athlete that spent those long nights doing homework on the bus drive home, every person’s whose life plans that were completely altered because they changed majors three times, I have got some news for you. You are not alone.
Let’s face it. This place has tested our psychological capabilities. We are constantly under the pressure of get these grades, get accepted into the right grad program, find the right job and live the right life attitude that has seemed to engulf so many from our generation, but something that can never be taken away from us are the experiences that we have all shared during our four years here.
I hate nostalgia. I have never seen any useful function for it. However, I cannot help but choke up a little when I came to the realization that major chapter in my life was finally coming to a close. The class of 2014 sweated over finals, cried over lost love and bled from nights of debauchery and belligerence, and we all did it together.
My classmates may not march to the same beat at all time, but the one thing that we took comfort in was the fact that everyone was in the same boat.
So, this is my advice to all the youngsters that are just starting to find their own niche in the educational abyss; despite all the dissimilarities that you share among yourselves, at the end of the day, when your own chapter here has come to a close, you will look each person in the eye at baccalaureate commencement and each pair will be communicating the same thing: we did it.