I arrived on campus for my last year at Bowdoin, raging with excitement, maybe just ready to rage. And then I remembered. This is my last year at Bowdoin College, my very last time to be a student here. I wrestled with what it meant: the end of my college education, the end of my college debauchery, and the end of an era. For the first time, coming back to Bowdoin didn't just mean coming back to another year of fun with my friends?it was coming back to the last year of fun with my friends here.
I couldn't shake that feeling of wanting to start all over again. What I wouldn't give to be a freshman. I would sit through awkward drug and alcohol briefings, ridiculous name games and forced social interaction with my proctor group, even wear my lanyard to Crack House. In fact, it wasn't just this desperation to do it all again, there was something bigger than that?the "where did it all go?" How much time could have actually elapsed between now and my days of living in a forced triple? Am I really that much older and wiser?
A month in and I'm starting to get a feel for this. It hit me for the first time on my way to Cumberland storage (aka my annual pilgrimage to retrieve the crap that has accumulated and multiplied in my various dorm rooms for the past three years). Despite my anxiety over standing on the brink of my last year as a college student, I had a moment of pure joy: I will never have to do this again. Never will I ever have to ride the creepy elevator up to the maze of storage units, stacking bookshelves, boxes, lamps, and TV one on top of the other (while that creepy man operating the elevator stares), praying to all things holy that I make it out of there alive or at the very least without breaking anything of minor importance. But there I was, meandering through the aisles, and I wasn't sad, not even a little bit. For the rest of the week moving in was a breeze. Every time I begrudged the heavy lifting, folding, and organizing, the light would go off?this is your last time moving into campus housing.
That was the first ah-hah moment. Fast forward to October and I'm really getting the hang of it. The Cumberland Storage logic is applicable just about anywhere. For instance, you were caught dancing at the pub in rare form. You think, no big deal, no one saw and everyone was hammered. The reality: It was an alternative band, not a D.J., i.e. there were no more than 10 people dancing and you were fighting your way onto the stage in the midst of your full-on blackout. Then it hits you, like that last shot of 99 Apples on your way to dance town, that it's your last year here?your last Thursday pub nights. So should you really regret a couple of poor decisions when it's really your last chance to make them without the weight of real world responsibilities bringing you down?
This time next year and a one-woman dance show at the office Christmas party could cost you your job. But this year, everything's in your favor. You're already legal so drinking and dancing at Jack Magee's go hand in hand.
This is where you start making the most of your senior year. Think of it this way, when you glance around at your fellow diners, they probably fit into one of three categories. 1. They are in your class and you know them, see them everyday in class and on Saturday night in the boom-boom room. 2. You have absolutely no clue who they are. Do they even go here? How long were they abroad? 3. You're still waiting for them to graduate and you're thinking, "weren't you a super senior when I was a freshman and why haven't you left yet?"
This is your audience, seniors. These are the people on campus, the ones who know you and the ones you may not know at all?so again, I will reiterate, it's your last year here and you've got nothing to lose. Amidst all of the interviewing, career prep, and competition, remember the common denominator here, we're all Class of '08 and we're here to make the most of it. Sure, nothing is really new anymore, but we get to do all of it, no restrictions.
In short, here begins the last hurrah. With unlimited potential, this campus is your oyster for only a short while longer, and because we've already lived out our days of humiliation and horror as underclassmen, it's our privilege?no, our duty?to embrace the same debauchery with the right to maintain our dignity. In effect, turn your senior complacency into a little more senior privilege. I mean, who's left to judge? You're a senior after all.