The Surrealism of Senior Spring
I have a list of potential editorial topics to write about, but all my ideas seem meaningless in face of the haze that is currently hanging over everything in my life. What is this new dimension of my existence? My impending graduation.
My world has suddenly acquired a second layer of reality. There is the everyday level that I operate at, and then this superimposed, other level (graduation) that colors everything that happens at the everyday level.
Living in this dual-layered existence is unsettling and emotionally draining. Let me explain why:
1) Suddenly, there's this pressing urge to seek closure with everyone I know. It's almost like Yom Kippur. I want to sit down with the important people in my life and give grand speeches about how I feel about them. I want to make peace with everyone around me and ensure that we're parting on a good note. Let's hug and all be friends.
2) Schoolwork is becoming increasingly unbearable. I've been handing in school assignments since I was five, and well, I'm ready to stop. It's a good thing I'm only taking two classes this term, because my motivation is at an all-time low.
Don't get me wrong, I still want to learn, but I'm ready to move on from the college academic system. Please, don't give me a syllabus or talk of midterms. At this point, even an eye-test seems like too much.
3) Everywhere I go and everything I do is tinged with nostalgia. Memories from the past four years flood my consciousness. At dinner with a friend, I think about all the previous dinners with that person. I go to Disco Inferno and remember all the other Disco Infernos, what I wore and with whom I danced.
The phrase "Remember when?" comes up again and again in conversations. I study my physical surroundings, trying to burn images of the brick buildings in my memory, knowing that all too soon I'll be gone. My sense of the present is now all tangled up with the past. I already miss the people and places around me.
4) I've heard the line "I wish I had met you sooner" from several sources recently. While it's flattering, the underlying message could send you into existential crisis if you think too much about it. Why do you meet certain people freshman fall, and other people senior spring? Is it better to meet someone too late, or to have never met them at all?
Is there a point in making new friends now? Should I ask someone new out to lunch if it's possible that in four weeks, I won't see them ever again?
5) I feel incredibly wise and weathered. Freshmen and sophomores seem like ants that I peer at from my mountaintop. I look at the swarms of prospectives and feel almost physically ill at the thought of all the experiences, good and bad, that lie ahead for them. Oh, the difference between then and now! I have the sense that I own this place, that I am an expert, a survivor.
In the face of this surrealism, all one has to fall back on is the phrase "I can't believe I'm graduating," which doesn't really explain anything at all. And there are numbers, too -- we count the weeks till the big day, as if noting the passage of time could make sense of our impending departure, as if we could squeeze everything in just by keeping track of dates, as if quantifying our remaining time at Dartmouth helps prepare us for leaving these four years behind.
One day soon, June 8, to be exact, my life will be fundamentally and forever different. Until then, I'll continue in my alternate universe.