Senior Send-off: Lessons from my friends

Then + Now

This year, I wrote a lot about sex and love. But for my senior sendoff, I’d like to write about something different — friendship. At Brown, I learned all sorts of things. I mastered three languages, grasped how to interpret financial statements, and practiced how to structure a screenplay. Yet, the most significant lessons I will take with me as I leave came neither from books nor professors, but from my friends.

Like many seniors, I think about the future and I’m terrified. I’ll be moving to a big scary city, famous for its entertainment, bagels, and world-class lunatics. If I don’t pay my bills, ResLife won’t be there to keep the heat on. And, hey, what do I do if the toilet gets clogged, anyway? But these worries are just part of the story. Truly, I’m most anxious that I won’t make friends — or at least, that I won’t find friends like the incredible ones I’ve found here. When I move, there will be no ice cream social, no Unit Wars, no superficial forms of forced group bonding. It’s up to me to make friends and that’s pretty freaking scary.

But I remember what Brown has taught me: If I believe I can make friends anywhere I go, then I really will make friends everywhere I go. I had these same doubts when I first moved into Pembroke. But sure enough, I made friends. I truly believe there is something about saying – believing – these words that works. When we know that we are worthy people, others find us irresistibly attractive to befriend. I carried this attitude with me when I studied abroad in France. And if I could successfully make friends with some of the most closed, American-hating-est, generally unenthusiastic populations in the world, then I believe I can make friends anywhere. Continue Reading

Senior Send-off: This is just to say

Then + Now

People might know me as… the girl with the bright orange bag; that girl with the loud laugh that carries through quiet spaces; or this semester’s editor-in-chief of BlogDailyHerald.

I never thought the most interesting people I would meet in my senior year would be fresh through the Gates. Freshmen. People who were really just kids; who had never known Fish Co., Liquid, the old Blue Room, or life before pizza-in-a-cone. But they kept me from putting my foot out the door too soon, reminded me how far I had come and how far they had to go before leaving. I have tried to give first-years advice so they can find their own paths without getting discouraged, scared or close-minded. (I’m not a Meiklejohn, but I’ve indulged myself with the title of “Meikle-jen.”) Their outlooks, their fearlessness and their enormous hearts have awed me many times over. As I have tried to teach them what I know, they have taught me so much more. This is dedicated to my first-year biddies — always keep reaching higher and wider, but make sure that whatever your achievements are, they bring a smile to your face. If they don’t, you missed something.
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Senior Send-off: How to graduate from college

Then + Now

If my mom were writing this, it would be much shorter: sleep eight hours a night, study hard, be pre-med, go to church every Sunday. She’s reading this right now so I’m going to say that I did all of that (she’s in for a rude awakening when she finds out she’ll be attending the ethnic studies commencement and not neuroscience). And more or less, it worked; here I am in the waning days of my life at Brown.

But as I prepare for Commencement, I’m realizing that all the advice I’ve ever received about “how to graduate” has been about how to get to the point where you’re shaking hands, moving the tassel, and holding the degree. Here are seven things I’ve been thinking about on how to transition into everything it means to not be a student.*

*Disclaimer: I’m not sure these steps are 100% correct. I’m not even sure they’re 10% correct. I’ve never graduated from college (yet).

1) Be incredibly ambitious. Be incredibly active. And be humble.
Back when he still had hair, Steve Jobs once said, “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”

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