And so the time has come. I look back at the year that has just passed and hope that in these months, I have become just a little wiser, just a little stronger, just a little older. Of course I've become older when it comes to age, but hopefully the same can be said when it comes to my perceptiveness, my maturity and my understanding of the world around me. I feel older. I can see the change in myself. The same situations, the same actions, the same people seem so different to me now than they had a year ago. And isn't this what college is all about -- growing, evolving, discovering yourself, your passions, your imagination?
These reflections are not uncommon for the end of the year, at least, they are not uncommon for me. But I think there are quite a few people like me. People who take a moment at the end of something to try and assess what it was, or maybe wonder what it could have been. Often it is a time of regrets -- regrets about missed opportunities, failed endeavors, overlooked actions. I try to shy away from such regrets, but sure enough it is quite impossible to hide from your own mind. And then you begin to question every choice you made and every choice you didn't make. But soon enough you realize that it's futile and that it's time to let go and sometimes, you do let go.
I wonder that if these are the thoughts running through my head, then just how much more magnified they must be in the minds of the graduating seniors. I can imagine myself in their shoes -- looking back at my days at Dartmouth with a bittersweet mixture of fondness and regrets. I can imagine the cherished last few days with my friends. I can imagine wondering about all the people I met and the many others I didn't meet. Infinite memories, innumerable smiles, countless laughs -- it must be a weird amalgam of emotions.
Meeting new people must be an interesting experience -- after all, if you're leaving in a few weeks, then what's the point? I guess I can see this perspective, but I have come to disagree with it. I think that meeting someone cool, someone you truly like is rare enough that I wouldn't shut a person out just because I was graduating. Maybe it's easier said than done -- I certainly haven't had to put this theory to test myself, but let's just say that I've been on the flipside, and I'm really glad that this particular senior didn't shut me out just because graduation was only a few weeks away. It's not easy, no one said it would be, but I think it would've been a shame if things had turned out differently for me.
Some of you seniors will go on to the Real World. The big, scary real world full of exciting cities and a variety of people. A world in which getting up early means getting up before 10 a.m. A world where there are no 10-week terms followed by a few weeks of break. A world where your biggest problem is not the huge paper due in a few hours. It's a world of presumably mature, responsible adults of which you'll be a part. I do envy you a little -- it'd be cool to have my own apartment, to live by my own schedule, to be forever free of tests and pesky projects, to lead a more responsible life. But then again, that involves having to grow up and taking care of myself. Hmmmmaybe I'll pass on that one for now.
Graduations always make me sad -- I really am not a fan of goodbyes. But it must be done, so I just want to tell you '03s that you will be missed. Some of the first people I met at Dartmouth were '03s -- when my parents dropped me off in front of Robo for my DOC trip. You guys have helped my class grow and mature and some of you have become dear friends. I wish you all the luck in the world in whatever you do. And if on a rainy day, you find yourself feeling lonely and blue, just remember that you will always have a home in Dartmouth.