I really thought that I would have had it all figured out by now. I’d sort of expected all the frayed edges and loose ends to be secured, my GPA to solidify with a fireworks show, and for a sense of fulfillment and completion, coasting downhill towards that cap and gown. But astonishingly, perhaps only to myself, I find that I am still the same person and struggle with all the same things as I have any other term.
Although I’d felt ready to move forward with my life for quite some time, leaving the place that has consumed the last four years of my life feels sort of like stepping into a void. I guess it’s only natural to want to maximize my experiences here in the face of uncertainty. Will I be lonely not being surrounded by my friends? Is this the last chance I’ll get to dive deeper into my major field if I’m switching tracks after college? Will I make time in my life to do the fun things I do now without a club to do it with me? Should I eat all the DDS food I can before I have to cook my own food next year?
People tell us, “Don’t forget these times, because they’ll be some of the best times of your life. It’s your senior spring, so don’t leave with any regrets.” And I’ve taken this way too seriously. Wanting to end with a grand finale can be quite paralyzing. For fear of regretting not spending enough time getting to know people, I’ve been spending nearly all my time in social contexts despite being a staunch introvert. Perfectionism in wanting the things I do this term to be “the capstone of my college experience” has given me a solid mental block against a making a thesis or even a dance.
So here’s to me resisting the urge to write “LAST” in capital letters across everything. To knowing that processing my Dartmouth experiences doesn’t end with graduation. To letting time, change, and life wrap up and tie a bow on my college experience. And to not feeling the pressure to be as neatly packed as my physical belongings by the time graduation comes.