The Last First

“The first beer of my first semester at Colgate tasted almost as good as the first beer of my last semester at Colgate. The only difference is the first beer was shared with strangers, while the last was with lifelong friends.”– Overheard the first Saturday of the spring semester.

This ridiculous statement, as well as other equally sappy comments, are echoed by members of the class of 2016 as we begin our final semester as college students.

In this moment of transition, the extent to which we try to memorialize the present and hold on to the past is extreme. We often find ourselves making grand statements about the most trivial moments in an attempt to cope with the difficult journey ahead. As underclassmen, we would have been complaining about hiking up Persson steps in icy conditions or struggling to get off the waitlist for a required class. Now, we’re seniors. Don’t get us wrong, we’re still complaining–but these complaints have taken on a new meaning. Everyone gets a little sweaty and out of breath as they climb the hill, but now we take the time to turn around and appreciate the view from the top.

Who are we kidding? That last all-nighter in Club Case won’t be pleasant. But we’ll appreciate bonding with our cubicle neighbor over our looming deadlines and sharing the last energy bar in the vending machine.

It sometimes is unsettling to pause and realize that we have already completed the final drive back to school from winter break or that we will never again see richly colored leaves cover the quad. Yet, these moments are worth remembering seeing as they symbolize the parts of Colgate we will truly miss.

While it is important to recognize these moments of finality, it is easy to become paralyzed by their meaning and forget to live in the moment. To spend the entire last semester lamenting its impending end would be a waste. This semester may be our last, but it is also just one of eight. It should be treated like any other.

That is not to say that certain moments of our final semester should not be commemorated properly. While the third pop reading quiz in a senior seminar does not deserve pause for reflection, the last final exam we take in May should be celebrated. Becoming a second-semester senior is a milestone, and we should feel proud that we have already passed seven semesters of classes, braved three upstate N.Y. winters and learned to survive without unlimited meal swipes to finally reach our last semester at Colgate.

Of course, not all moments that we find meaningful carry the same weight for our classmates. Because although we share a collective experience as the class of 2016, we have individually carved our own paths at Colgate. As Editors-in-Chief, we will perceive this semester’s last issue of the Maroon-News differently than the casual reader who picks up a copy in line for a coffee at the library cafe.

Yes, these may be the last few months that you have to trek to your 9:20 a.m. class in single-digit temperatures, but that doesn’t mean that you have to repeat the same routine you have perfected over the last seven semesters. This semester represents your final opportunity to capitalize on all that Colgate has to offer. Do what you imagined yourself doing on Move-in Day. Go to that club meeting you’ve been meaning to attend since freshman year. Head to the rock climbing wall in Huntington. Meet with your favorite professors and learn about their graduate research. Sign up for that audition that makes your heart pound. Get a Jug Dog.

Reconnect with that friend from your first-year seminar.

Don’t get too sentimental about this being the last time we as Editors-in-Chief kick off the semester with an editors’ column. We still have the last column of the semester to write. Save your tears.