Senior Send-Off: Where you lead

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Then + Now

Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead.

Carole King’s song, “Where You Lead,” better known as the theme song for iconic television show Gilmore Girls, has served as the soundtrack of my senior year. Just ask my two roommates – they hear the tune echoing through our apartment much more frequently than they’d like. In fact, after they began to sing along mockingly and enthusiastically to King’s frequent crooning, I began self-consciously muting my computer every time that familiar title sequence comes on.

It does not help that Gilmore Girls spanned seven seasons, with each season consisting of 22 episodes. That means that my roommates have, so far, been subjected to 93 renditions of “Where You Lead,” and for that, I feel that I must apologize.

Following the lives of mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore has served a much greater purpose than simply providing fodder for procrastination. These women accompanied me while I worked on my VISA0100 projects, as I folded my laundry, and when I ate my eggs in the morning. They bantered on while I browsed the Internet for jobs and distracted me when I just couldn’t bare to think about one more bullshit answer to the question: “What are you going to do after graduation?”

But here is the key fact that I realized about these two women: they’re not real. It came as much of a surprise to me as it likely did to you. They are not the people who have collaborated with me on class projects or accompanied me to Jo’s at 2 a.m., though they did remind me of the power and strength of loyalty. (Granted, being loyal to a television show is not much of an admirable feat; in reality, it’s more of an indication of utter laziness.) The connection between Rory and Lorelai is infamously strong; they epitomize good chemistry and unfaltering devotion. It seems serendipitous that I would only discover this enviable bond at the moment in my life when I would be spending the most time reflecting on the lessons I have learned from the myriad “real” relationships I have developed at Brown.

This semester, Gilmore Girls became my one constant, my one quiet respite from it all, upon which I could always rely to quiet down the “who’s” “what’s” and “where’s” that relentlessly accompany the prospect of leaving Brown. However, the dependence I developed on Lorelai and Rory sheds light on what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment at Brown: finding those who I would be with anywhere that they needed me to be.

When others ask me what my favorite part about going to Brown is, I always answer that it’s the people. It’s the people with whom I eat meals, the people with whom I’ve shared my deepest secrets, the people whose comments in class remind me time and time again of the incredible caliber of brains at this school. It’s the people who I don’t know but whose faces become familiar when our class schedules sync up, otherwise known as my “Brown extras” – a term coined by my roommate. Each student’s network of “extras” inevitably overlaps at one point; Brown’s narrative is actually comprised of every student’s individual storyline and the people who constantly walk in and out of it. “Extras” may eventually become friends (or more than friends), or they may remain a familiarly-anonymous face in the backdrop of one’s daily routine. Either way, and no matter how much our paths may vary in between, we know that we all have somehow made it from the same point A to point B together: from Convocation to Commencement.

Over the last four years, I was able to identify the ways in which loyalty transcends time and distance; it crosses boundaries between distinct “friend groups” and bridges geographical distances between study abroad programs. Most importantly, the integrity of the Brown student body has given me the confidence that loyalty will be enough to cement the friendships that inevitably will be scattered across the globe after we graduate. Just as Lorelai and Rory have gifted me a sense of familiar comfort, so too has the cast of characters at Brown that has defined my college years.

After graduation I will not be able to instantly stream the last four years or watch the status bar on Netflix load the reel of memories I have created. However, their significance will not wane after the close of a seventh television season. Though one day I must wave goodbye to my beloved Gilmore Girls, the credits will never roll on the impactful experiences I have garnered at Brown.

This is a final thank you to all who have co-starred in my life in the last four years. I will always follow where you lead.

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