At Brown, most of us are barely even into our twenties, and those who are are (mostly) on our way out the door. So instead, roughly one-fourth of the undergraduate population is really thinking about what it means to be a second semester senior. And this is why it’s awesome.
I know I talk crap on being a second semester senior, but I’m only half kidding. In actuality, there’s no class year I’d rather be. (Besides a first-year, because they don’t do anything except eat chicken fingers and pretend they’re actually good at responding to emails.)
Being a second semester senior is all about re-discovering. You spent the first year screwing around with different friends, the second year screwing around with different concentration departments, and the third year realizing you picked the wrong one to begin with, but you might as well finish it now because you only have one requirement left and Wendy Schiller can’t be that tough, right? Being a second semester senior is about re-discovering what you actually give a shit about, partly because once you graduate, you’re going to have to attach whatever it is to the ropes and hoist it from the top of the flag pole for the rest of the world to see and remember you by.
This is what your senior spring is for — to make up for all the time you spent producing at Brown by consuming again, vagabonding weird classes, going to Whiskey Republic on a Tuesday and attending free lectures (it doesn’t matter if Seth Meyers’ most academically meritable talking point was how not to win a bar fight). Senior spring is for staying up all night for no completely sane reason except to go to Loui’s. You’re a raw egg, and you don’t even know it. You go into your senior year thinking you’re the baddest shit on campus because you’ve been around here three years and have run a few student groups before (read: assembled the listserv). But then you quickly realize there’s a whole other world on campus filled with people you never knew existed. And so you hustle all year to forge new friendships, recount old ones and rehash the broken ones.
It’s important to talk about why senior spring is so great because it seems like we spend so much of our time wanting to either be done with it all or to stay in college forever. Both viewpoints are wrong. Why the hell are we in such a hurry to live some boring-ass grown-up post-graduate life? (Maybe not necessarily get married — that stuff only happens this early in life in Texas. But you can definitely bet we’ll have to at least do our own taxes.) And why the hell would we want to be stuck in college endlessly recycling the same ideas for different papers ? Don’t get me wrong. Next year is going to be awesome. And the past three years were, too. But why put all that energy into the what-isn’t-now when there are things to be screwed up, curricula to be opened and withs to be spiced? The second semester of your senior year is a get-out-of-jail-free card. Enjoy it all now, because one day (May 27, 2012) it will all be gone. You’ll just be left with the pictures and the bruises and nothing else except the embarrassing stuff that’s on your Facebook Timeline, even though you didn’t want to switch over in the first place but they eventually forced you to and that’s kind of okay, too, now because your cover photo is pretty rad.
This is senior spring. Nothing and everything matters at the same time. Anything is possible. University resources are more ripe for you than ever, and more importantly, you are more ripe for university resources than ever. And not because you’re smarter or because you know how to prepare spring budgets, but because you know yourself better. Start your new student group now. Recruit underclassmen. Make change. Years from now you’ll be reading an article on Blog about the baddest ass new thing that a student at Brown is doing and you’ll want to say, “I could have done that,” but the only difference is that you didn’t. Or do none of these things and spend your time on the Main Green talking to the best friends you’ve had for the past three years. Make living Polaroids. But whatever you do, make sure you realize what you are doing, where you are doing it and when you are doing it, because one day it’s all going to be a wash, and the last thing you’ll want to tell your kids is, “I don’t remember much, but those sure were the days.”
I want to remember the anxiety. I want to remember the promise. I want to remember shuffling into WhisCo still dressed in my Friedman fresh. I want to remember the people I had drunken 3 a.m. conversations with, but when sober, only give the occasional headnod to one out of every three encounters. I’m going to be scared. I’m going to take all those risks I was never quite brave enough to take. I’m going to satisfactory with distinction everything on my senior bucket list. I’m going to bruise my knees and not know how they got there. I’m going to be a second semester senior because that’s what I am today. And you should, too. You should love every single moment of this hot mess of a semester. Chances are you’ll miss it before you even get to hear “Congratulations.”