This one goes out to all the seniors I barely know
Tonight will mark the third of three senior related events in the past two weeks. I went to the last two—that is, to the first Senior Night and to the Senior Inauguration—partially because I wanted free champagne and a free shot glass (I got neither), but mostly because I felt like I should try out the whole “senior experience.”
This experience, it turns out, is quite strange.
I don’t know where you went to high school, but, for me, senior year marked the graduating class getting to know and like each other, and it saw us generally coming together.
But college isn’t like that. It can’t be. There are ten times as many people in Columbia Class of 2012 than there were in Your Random High School Class of 2008 (disclaimer: I didn’t do the math on this one). And there are so many more different types of groups and individuals here. Which, normally, I really appreciate about Columbia.
At these senior celebration soirées, however, this appreciation takes on a slightly different form. Because, rather than seeing how far we’ve come as a group, attendees see how separated we are as a class, how many people we randomly, barely know.
“I don’t think we’ve met,” one girl said to me last Wednesday night.
“Were you in my Lit Hum class?” I replied.
“Oh, my God! Of course!” (We hugged.)
Then there’s the boy you met the one semester you spent on student council, the girl you kind of wave at when you run into her on College Walk because you somehow sort of know each other from somewhere, the kids you might have been friends with if your time here had gone slightly differently. And, of course, there are the faces and faces you do not recognize, of people you do not know, reminding you how far from the center—how disconnected from how many—you are. This upset one girl so much that she told my friends and me at Senior Inauguration that we could not possibly be in her grade, since she does not know us, and that she fails to understand how she, as a senior, could not know so many of the people who were in her presence that night. My friend assured her that she was not alone in her struggle. (They hugged.)
But there’s another factor of it that’s really not upsetting. Because I was genuinely pleased to see that girl from my Lit Hum class. And to smile at people I haven’t gotten to know in my time here. To talk to the guy, whom I have not seen since our University Writing class (which, incidentally, turns out full force at these things), who told me that he still remembered my final paper and reads my Spec column. (We hugged.) To be reminded that Columbia holds more than we know, but to know that we are a part of that.
Is it like senior year of high school? Not really, no. But then, very few things at Columbia are like high school. They’re better.
I suppose what I’m saying is this: It’s been nice sort of knowing you, seniors. I look forward to seeing you around.
Leave a Comment
Be nice. Don't use HTML tags. And consider reading our full comment policy.