Walking through Smith Union two weeks ago, I saw more students crowded near the mail center than I’d ever seen before (even more so than the week before Spring Gala, when everyone seems to have a Nasty Gal clothing package). The sounds of S.U. box doors swinging open, paper crinkling and high-fives meant only one thing: College House decisions had been released.

As I navigated my way through all the commotion, I kept hearing one phrase pop up in conversations: “I’m so excited for next year.” Living in a House has been one of the best experiences I’ve had at Bowdoin, so it’s understandable that accepted applicants would feel the same thrill I felt one year ago.

But I couldn’t feel completely excited for them. I grew a little bit more uncomfortable with each text that came in carrying names of those who would be succeeding us at Reed. It was a look into the future, but what about the present?

It wasn’t until I was walking down a sunlit Boody Street later that week that I realized my time is coming to an end, just like the rapidly melting snow. These letters were more than just the announcement of the future of the Houses—they were a subtle reminder that my housemates and I only have a month left. Exactly one month from today, our OneCards will no longer open the doors to the place we all call home.

I feel as if we’re running out of time. Where did this year go? There’s still so much I want to do with the people I run into in the kitchen, so many late night conversations to be had in the living room and events I wish could take place in our yard. (We do have the best yard in the game, after all.)

The limited time I have left in Reed terrifies me because I feel as if I haven’t made the most of the year. Like trying to hold onto sand, so many months feel as if they just slipped between my fingers. I expected a tremendous year, and it was…for the most part. Returning to campus from the summer, my housemates and I laid out in the sun, cooked endless meals together and thoroughly took advantage of the fact we were all living under one roof—something we’d never get the chance to do again. 

The elation and naïve hope with which I entered the school year quickly dissipated as the temperatures plummeted. I felt myself succumbing to the legendary “sophomore slump.” 
I grew increasingly disenchanted with the House system, with the winter months; Bowdoin began to feel stagnant, and I became increasingly stressed by the big decisions looming overhead and the smallest of things—like someone not returning a text message—would upset me more than it should have. My attempts to forge new friendships and to strengthen old ones, something for which the College Houses are the perfect platform, felt feeble.

I fixated on this slump as if it was the heart of being a sophomore on campus. For four to five months, one bad day would continuously lead to another until I had dug myself into a rut of debilitating loneliness. 

Nights I didn’t go out I spent on my bedroom floor staring at the ceiling, trying to make sense of the dark corners I hadn’t known my mind contained. 

My personal sophomore slump pushed me into a severe depression—one I disguised with a heavy workload and “I’m just tired”—and I cannot say that I didn’t think about leaving Bowdoin, at least sometimes.

Sophomore year narrows your horizon. Friend groups grow closer—sometimes to an irritatingly insular degree—and study abroad and major declaration decisions feel burdensome and momentous. But my year has been so much more than just a slump—it’s been a year of youthful adventures, immense growth and lasting memories. Yes, it’s a year of ridiculous highs and lows, but I’d argue the highs overshadow any low.

It wasn’t until I looked through the photo album of candid moments from this year—in its entirety, for the first time—during Spring Break that I managed to pick my head up and remember how fulfilling living in Reed has been. Each memory came flooding back to me as I glimpsed at each 4” x 6” photograph. I used to compulsively upload these photos to Facebook at the end of each week, obsessed with not letting any hilarious incident or cute portrait be forgotten. I’m sorry if my mass uploading of midnight soccer, impromptu swimming-with-the-bioluminescence trips, or weekend revelry popped up on your newsfeed when you needed to study. Actually, I’m not sorry. These are the memories we need to cherish.

However, I noticed there was a big time frame missing in my album. Four to five months of the year were not documented because I was submerged in my sophomore slump, convinced that I was miserable with Bowdoin. These months are now time that I—with only a month left in Reed—wish I still had.

As the year winds down and my housemates and I prepare to pass the torch down to “New Reed,” I’m taking photos again because although we’re on our way out, this month is still the last chapter of our time at Reed and of our sophomore year.

When I return from being abroad in the spring, it’ll be a little odd not to walk down Boody Street to my room, let alone have half my grade off campus. But if there’s anything this year has taught me, it’s to make the most of the present because it will fly by you faster than you can realize. 

To the new generation of Reed: Sophomore year will be one of the best—you just have to look beyond the slump.