Commencement and Reunion 2002 Issue

by Carl Burnett | 6/9/02 5:00am

Important things often happen at the last minute.

At the last minute, decisions are made that will affect our entire lives: college and career decisions are made the day before the applications are due; major cards are filed the hour before (or after) the Registrar wants them. Yes, newspapers, too, are written and laid out in the wee hours of the night they're to be put to bed.

Perhaps even you, member of the Class of 2002, have been scurrying around Hanover over the past few days, meeting last-minute obligations and fulfilling goals long postponed.

If one were to have walked through Baker/Berry Library in the past few days, one would have seen students -- yes, even some among you -- tapping away frantically on PowerBooks, churning out everything from overdue homework assignments to senior theses before the library closed at the ungodly-early hour of 8 p.m.

And if you were to overlook the Green late one Senior Week evening, perhaps you would be privy to the sight of stripping seniors, streaking unstealthily across the leafy expanse in an until-now-unfulfilled expression of their freedom, knowing they would never again have the chance.

We mention this not to wag an accusing finger at you, those graduates who have left part of your Dartmouth experiences until the last possible moment. Indeed, if we were, we chronic procrastinators would be implicating ourselves, and might come off as ungrateful for the many hours of last-minute work put in by the devoted writers and editors we enlisted amidst the crunch of final exams.

Instead, we bring up these eleventh-hour accomplishments because there is something valuable to them. Spontaneity breeds creativity.

Last-minute work is the fountain of genius. Last-minute exclamations are the ones most likely to be heard. Last-minute revelry is that which we remember for the rest of our lives.

Your time at Dartmouth is not over. Until the minute Baker Tower fades out of view in your rearview mirror, you have time left to stop and look around, or if you prefer, not to stop at all but to run screaming naked across the Green.

Make the most of your last days and hours and minutes here, and you may remember them best.

Congratulations to all the graduates, planners and procrastinators alike.