I’m a pretty sentimental person, and behind that sentimentality resides an appreciation for tradition and a dislike for goodbyes.
My traditional nature reveals itself in my predictable restaurant orders, my go-to Starbucks drink and my annual Christmas playlist. Some might call it boring, but I find comfort in familiarity and don’t apologize for refusing to stray from my usual.
My dislike for goodbyes affects me most, as you might guess, at the end of things. The end of a summer job, the end of the school year and the end of a holiday season all carry with it a mix of sadness and anxiety.
Sadness and anxiety because the next step, whatever it is, gleams on the horizon and it’s time to move forward.
In the interim, it’s easy to forget endings and get lost somewhere in the middle. In college, we all complain our way through midterms and grimace through papers and projects. But we all also forget to realize how fast these four years are going to fly by (if you haven’t figured this out yourself, I’m sure a relative will remind you at Thanksgiving).
I didn’t give this passage of time too much thought during my freshman and sophomore years, but I began my junior year with surprise and a tinge of uncertainty.
Now, my friends and I are the presidents and executive members of student organizations. We are the ones giving rides to the first-years, and the ones younger kids are approaching with questions and requests for advice.
It sounds ridiculous and terribly cliché, but it hit me that my friends and I had grown up.
It was after this seemingly obvious realization that I decided I didn’t want to wait until the end to reminisce on my time here. I didn’t want to wait until May of senior year when red gowns are distributed and the seal glitters with confetti and spilled champagne to laugh over the stupid things my friends and I did freshman year.
At first, I thought this column ought to be stashed away until my senior year. All of this Auld Lang Syne certainly rings in tune with graduation, but I’ve decided I was wrong. I don’t want to be handing out advice I haven’t taken, so, instead, I’m forming advice while I attempt to live it.
Reminiscing feels like it should accompany the end of something, but it doesn’t have to. It’s these miniature waves of nostalgia that allow a shift in perspective. Ferris Bueller sums it up best when he says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Every day, we have that chance to look around and reminisce, and I’ve finally started taking those opportunities.
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When I walk past Bishop Hall, I think about helping my friend move suitcases to her car the night before she transferred schools. When I walk past Emerson Hall, I remember speeding to statistics class with one friend, and getting yelled at by another for leaving the water running while brushing my teeth. When I walk past Shideler Hall, I remember an insufferable geology class, and a hilarious outdoor field trip.
Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve felt a hint of sadness because those days are over, but that sadness is far outweighed by a sense of appreciation that my time in college isn’t over yet.
Whether you’re a first-year or a senior, there’s still plenty of late weekend nights left, waiting to be filled with cheap beer and Bagel. Plenty of mornings to be filled with good conversation and overpriced coffee.
And, as I tend to think in terms of music and movies, I recalled a scene in “High School Musical 3,” where Gabriella and Troy stand in a tree-house, gazing at a night sky gleaming with stars, discussing their futures.
Gabriella says wistfully, “I wish it would all just stop. Or at least, just slow down.”
It’s not going to slow down. It never does.
So let’s not wait until it’s time for goodbyes to relive old times; let’s do it now.