Senior Send-off: Revisiting the archives

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Then + Now

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Instagram; in fact, I basically wrote my senior honors thesis on the topic. I’m incredibly nit-picky about how each photo is composed, filtered, captioned, and what it looks like with the rest of the photos in my account. The beauty of Instagram, and other social media platforms, is that we can edit our own experiences and curate a narrative for our friends and followers.

The camera roll in my iPhone tells another story – more specifically, the story of my college career, from start to finish. These images have documented the various events, friendships, ups, and downs of my life over the past four years. I can usually remember exactly how I was feeling during the moments in which each picture was captured; sometimes, I can even recall specific conversations that took place that day. My photos allow me to evoke highlights and victories, but also low-points and mistakes.

In the last episode of season four of Girls, Hannah Horvath tells an infant: “I can’t guarantee perfection, but I can guarantee intrigue.” (It’s only appropriate that I include a Girls quote, since my first-ever BlogDH post was the inaugural installment of “Lessons in the Girls Lexicon.”)

My college career hasn’t been perfect; I’m not sure that anyone’s is. I was EMS’d during orientation, I’ve had turbulent relationships – both with my friends and boys – and I made the mistake of taking ENGN1010 during second semester of Senior year.

But (with the exception of ENGN1010) I don’t regret any of it. That freshman year visit to Rhode Island Hospital has informed and regulated the way I imbibe, winning me the title of “Most Responsible Friend.” My break-ups and make-ups have exposed me to new dimensions of my personality – some of which I plan on keeping, and other qualities that I’ve been working to phase out. These relationships have taught me more about the kind of person I’d like to be, how to handle conflict, and the people with whom I should surround myself.

I’m a big proponent of the theory that everything happens for a reason, and that even the darkest of moments serve a purpose. We come out of these events a little wiser, more patient, and more knowledgeable about how to deal with, or even avoid, certain conflicts in the future. Some people advise leaving the past in the past, but I think it’s important to be able call upon previous experiences, to acknowledge how they’ve shaped us and to inform new endeavors (friendships, roommate selection, internships, etc.) – without, of course, preventing us from living in the moment.

The pictures I’ve taken since I began attending Brown in 2011 have allowed me to do just that. I can enjoy the here and now, constructing new memories, without the fear of recording over old ones – like my first Binder concert in the pouring rain, ill beyond belief and “sober as a clam,” as my friend Alison says, but happier than I had ever been; Halloween Sophomore year, when my roommates and I dressed in matching Carhart overalls in an attempt to look like Despicable Me Minions; a horribly dramatic holiday party during that same year; countless plates of food from my semester abroad; my last home in Providence, Rhode Island.

All of those moments – moments that have a place in my heart and iCloud forever – have led me to where I am now, writing this senior send-off for myself and for all of you.

I implore you to document your time here in some way – whether you’re a photographer, songstress, painter, or writer – and to revisit those memories once in a while. Remind yourself of the rad times and the bad times, and how all of those moments, those snapshots, have made you the stronger, wiser, more badass person you are now.

All my love,
Syd

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