How to Survive Junior Fall
Some of you, especially members of the Class of 2008, might have noticed a recent phenomenon known as the junior fall blues. Due to a disproportionate amount of our class being off, the realization that we're more than halfway through college and the beginning of the search for junior summer/off-term internships, we can now be seen hurrying around campus desperate for some semblance of our sanity. Not only are many of our compatriots off or gallivanting about abroad, but those of us who remain get caught in limbo. No longer are we new freshmen, full of excitement for our classmates or with the desire to meet "sweet" upperclassmen and win their approval. Sophomores inevitably get barraged with the "Did you rush? Where?" questions, and immediately begin using their status as a non-freshmen to assert their newfound coolness. Seniors are faced with the job hunt, which is somewhat balanced with being the kings of the school. As juniors, we are faced with the lack of youth we suddenly possess, and the impending realization that there is life outside of Dartmouth.
But to be fair, things are not all that bad. Even those of us taking four classes are somehow getting through it all, justifying it to ourselves by saying we will be better for the experience. And we will be, as the rest of us are bonding over our lack of classmates. Like any other part of life, there are ups and downs, and for most of us, junior fall just happens to be one of those times. Commitments grow, we get used to late nights writing papers in the 1902 room, and sometimes you even find yourself being driven home by a friendly Safety and Security, suddenly realizing your tolerance has dropped substantially (I knew turning 21 would be good for something). I even find myself looking forward to junior winter and spring -- both of which I am spending in Hanover -- even though I may occassionally send out blitzes to friends on off-terms trying to live vicariously through them.
So now, a few words of advice to those of us on campus: to the Classes of 2009 and 2010, take advantage of the Class of 2008, whose members are desperately searching for more friends to expand their social universes. There will not be any other time when they'll be as willing to talk to you as they are now. It is certainly a welcome break from receiving three-page-long blitzes from friends on off-terms describing their experiences seeing the Pope or lounging on Spanish beaches. We would rather talk to people who 1) are stuck in Hanover like we are, and 2) also have no idea what they are doing with their lives.
This is particularly important advice for the Class of 2009, for if you want to avoid the junior fall blues next year, you had better start making friends in the Class of 2008. We will all be here next fall when half of your group of friends inexplicably disappears, and you find yourself sending out blitzes to the tune of, "Are you in Hanover?" and the answer comes back, "Paris." I am not usually the jealous type, but sometimes I get pushed too far.
To the Class of 2008, this is the time to bond with your classmates. Coming off of Sophomore Summer, we might think that we pretty much know everyone in our class who we want to know, but from a logical standpoint, this just isn't true. Like my earlier statement regarding underclassmen, there is no other time when your classmates will be as desperate to meet you as they are now. I have created connections this term with no other real basis besides, "You're an '08? Me too!" While we juniors may feel like an endangered species, there are more than enough friendly faces around. And if they are not friendly faces we know, they are at least friendly faces we can meet.
While the junior fall blues may be contagious, there is a solution. We can revel in our seniority, and appreciate that many of our friends are finally turning 21. We can enjoy watching the various pledges around campus with their T-shirts, moustaches and signs, and we can watch the snow hopefully begin to fall sometime soon. If nothing else, we can take solace in the fact that the Class of 2007 is even closer to the real world than we are, and the Classes of 2009 and 2010 are not nearly as interesting or as clever (yet).