“Through The Years…” as a soon-to-be college graduate, a soon-to-be member of the work force, and a soon-to-be “Real Adult”, this phrase seems to be an accurate way to think about the past 3 plus years I’ve experienced at Arcadia. Lately I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic; walking down memory lane. I’ve been thinking about how carefree freshman year was; how chill sophomore year was; how amazing junior year and my time abroad was, and how anxiety inducing, yet somehow still exciting senior year is…
…Where did the time go?
I know they say college will go by fast – look how fast high school went by – but when did it come time for thesis, applying for real jobs and graduation? It’s April, spring fling is around the corner and Senior Week is not too far after that…When did I get here?
I entered Arcadia, like a lot of you, as a freshman, excited, bright-eyed, confused (and honestly a little nervous) about what this university would hold for me. Like a lot of Arcadia’s students, I wasn’t too far from home, but far enough to finally feel like I could do whatever I wanted. Everybody was friends with everyone, we were all in the same boat…we maybe know one other person from back home, but everything was hopeful.
We have four years to make our mark. Four years to get ourselves together, four years to prepare for the real world…while managing to go to a few parties here and there. This year kind of zoomed by (for me at least). First semester came and went. Second semester I felt like I wasn’t even here. I realize not everyone had a great first year, but we all have memories we look back on, things we share that remind us of the innocence of our first year. “Remember when so-and-so fell down the hill on move in day?”
Sophomore year of college felt like sophomore year of high school. No, not awkward but it was just kind of there. This year was definitely full of more work, more parties and more adventures. Some friends moved into Towers, so there were the weekly treks from Oak to Towers on Friday or Saturday night. If you didn’t live in Towers, getting lost while trying to navigate Oak was definitely something that happened more than once. You think you’re on A first floor but you’ve actually made your way to C third floor and have no idea what day it is or how long you’ve been gone.
Waving to your old roommates and other people who lived on your floor on the Green, knowing when it was okay to get the creation station in the Chat and having the luxury of having your car on campus were a few highlights of this year. No, sophomore year is, was and never will be a bad year. It’s a chill year, you’ve kind of established yourself at AU (As much as a 19-20 year old can, at least), you have your group of friends, you’re kind of on track with what you want to do in life, things are seemingly good.
Junior year could go one of two ways. You’ve either made the decision to stay at Arcadia, or like me and what seemed like half of my graduating class, you made the decision to go abroad. I took the entire year abroad and honestly, it’s sort of like a second freshman year. You’re in this foreign country, with completely new people and it’s almost like you can start over again, at least for a little while (Depending how long you’re abroad for). Yeah, being homesick sucks but you’re abroad. You’re in some foreign country you’ve been hyped about for at least a month, with new adventures around every corner.
If you stayed in Glenside for junior year, you have the luxury of being established and well into your work and starting to look into your career, without the stress of thesis. You have minimal stress compared to seniors and know your professors well enough to know when to start your assignments. Either way, whether you’re in Glenside or somewhere far away, posting pictures on Instagram (And making your friends jealous), junior year is that last minute of freedom before you have to start thinking about Real Life Issues. Junior year honestly feels like the Friday night of college. Yeah, you’ve got work to do, but isn’t there always tomorrow?
When did that happen? What do you mean senior thesis? It felt like just yesterday you were sitting in your first year seminar, thinking about heading to the mac ‘n cheese bar in the DH, now you’re making plans to head to Mad River for someone’s birthday. It doesn’t really hit until you’re sitting in senior seminar and professors are throwing due dates at you left and right. Nights have changed a bit, instead of hanging out in the hallway eating someone’s birthday cake off the floor with 6 other people (Yes, this actually happened), you’re in your apartment, drinking wine with your roommates and complaining about thesis. No, for all of you that are not senior yet, don’t be discouraged. Senior year is not the Sunday night of college.
Quite the contrary actually. Yeah, there’s a lot of work involved, but the light at the end is visible. Yeah, some people are moving on to grad school, some are going into the peace corps and most are kind of just scrambling to hand in all your assignments on time, but, for the first time it’s almost as if you can breathe. Yeah, you’ve got thesis, a test in this class, a presentation in the other and an internship but, despite all the things being thrown at you, you’re prepared for it all. It may not feel like it, but you get through it, and you feel really accomplished at the end of it. Not to mention, by this point, you’re probably 21 and can drink…that’s always a plus.
This is not my way of telling you to daydream about senior year, forget everything and study abroad, or to cherish your moments as a freshman. No, this is my way of telling all of you to cherish all of your moments at Arcadia. Yes, we all complain about this school (Don’t lie, we know you do) but we’re still here for some reason or other.
Yes, I complained, yes, I studied abroad for an entire year, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience at Arcadia. As much as I, and many of the other graduating seniors, want to get out of here, we’re cherishing the few moments we have left. So from one senior to anyone reading this, don’t take this time for granted. Obviously get your work done, but also go out and have fun. As corny as it is, you are only young once, and you’re out of here, it’s all over. So, I guess to end off my reflection, thank you Arcadia, thank you class of 2017, and thank you everyone who helped make some of my favorite memories over the last four years.