Ahead and Embrace Your Ennui
"The best four years of your life" rhetoric is a fundraising
ploy to induce a nostalgia that will pry open the coffers of alumni. So
forget it. Positive thinking is healthy, but over romanticizing, even
mythologizing, the college experience, isn't.
The notion of college as the culmination of our young lives
is, while it pretends to be otherwise, a very depressing thought. Would
we really want our existence to peak at age twenty-one?
Rather than motivate us to seize the day, such thinking is
more likely to cultivate a sense of lacking. When we craft an idealized
vision of "the college experience," we construct an ideal which will always
lie beyond our reach. It seems college should be less about grasping after
unattainable, fictional pleasures, and more about really immersing ourselves
in the joys college life does offer.
Over idealized visions of college impel us to bemoan our
eventual departure, and make us feel guilty if we don't. But really, while
it is healthy to retain fond memories of the place, it is equally healthy
for us to feel the desire to leave, to move on. And so, if Bowdoin feels
a bit constrictive, or a little stale, to seniors, that's good. Embrace