It’s hard to believe my first year of college is over. Okay – so I still have papers, finals and the presumed survival of Spring Party Weekend to get through. But still, everything feels ambiguously future-oriented right now. Classes are beginning to talk about finals, plans for summer jobs are being confirmed, leadership positions for next year are being voted on, storage units are being rented for the summer. It doesn’t help that the sun has miraculously begun to appear, and even to stay in the sky. The quad has become a tanning, picnicking and frisbee-throwing spot during peak hours. Those may be stereotypical college activities, but the weather at Colgate rarely permits them at this university. It hardly fits into my mental image of Colgate. Seeing all the beach towels and shorts just makes it seem like we have moved pointedly into summer.
So, it is difficult not to feel like I’ve already come to a turning point – the end of my freshman year. But I’m not really sure where that leaves me. I can already tell, from high school experience and the ‘sophomore’ status I’ve had here of registering for classes and picking next year’s housing, that it is a wonderful thing to not be a first year student any longer. In some ways, I will even be an ‘upperclassman’. But I am a firm believer that you don’t move on to the next grade until that school year begins. (I always found it nonsensical in high school how juniors would proclaim to instantaneously become seniors after graduation, despite having a month left of school.) So that means I must be on the brink of wandering, lost, through a nameless stage that comes inevitably with the onset of each summer. Those people who share my ideology about waiting for the new semester to claim to be a grade older will understand the awkward, middling answer of “Next year I’ll be a ______” or “I just finished my _____ year” to inquiries about school.
I’m not saying that it takes some abundant amount of extra energy that way, but merely that I spend this time of year feeling to be, in some aspects, without an identity. Everything notable has just happened, or is lingering in the near future. All the stories are of “last year”, and all expectations of more exciting anecdotes are for “next year”. It is hard to decide where you are “supposed” to be, where you “belong”, when time between college and home has been so perfectly spread out that every time you find your way back into the swing of things in one location, it is time to go back to the other.
Maybe instead of writing a painfully cliché article about ‘what I learned this year’, which might have been what I was aiming for, I couldn’t say for sure, I’ve just confusingly described my perplexity at the end of one school year, and the commencement of time in limbo until I am once again comfortably settled into a fall semester. What I can say for sure is that, for all of us, another year has passed. Before we start another semester at Colgate, it is important that we take a respite from the intense weather and workload, even if that period of rest may feel indefinable and confusing to some of us.