At the risk of fixating too much upon our impending graduation, I’m going to continue in Teresa’s theme and write about the 200 Days party that took place this past weekend in McCullough Social Space. As a member of the Senior Committee, I’ve spent considerable time and energy over the past several weeks planning this party, working with catering staff to decide exactly which Grille delicacies we wanted to eat, coordinating with Student Activities to have a large helium tank delivered to blow up several hundred balloons, and collaborating with a friend with an exceptional amount of artistic talent to design and print a poster for the event. At the party, everything came together in a fabulous way, and everyone had a wonderful time. Because the event was open only to seniors, it felt exclusive and intimate like few other parties do on this campus, where almost every social event is open to everyone. It was a great opportunity to catch up with classmates I hadn’t seen in several years (including my freshman year roommate) and just generally to enjoy each other’s company and of course, to savor one of the final 200 days of our senior year.
Many friends I spoke with said it reminded them of freshman year all over again, except without the nerves, loneliness and anxiety that we all came to college with. After having lunch with a friend who is in her first semester at Middlebury this past week, I’ve been thinking back a lot about my freshman year, and the transformations that I’ve made during these past four years at Middlebury. I very clearly remember coming to college feeling a little lost, eager and anxious to make friends and find “my people” at Middlebury, and excited and nervous about fitting in at a new place. Now, four years later, I easily consider Middlebury my home away from home. I have found fabulous friends here who I know will last for life, I have cultivated relationships with professors and consider many of them friends, and I have come to love this campus and the state of Vermont through many driving excursions, hiking trips, farmers market runs and picnics in the organic garden. Even though starting college can seem impossibly daunting at first, it really does get easier, and chances are good that you’re not the only one feeling a little overwhelmed. And then, before you know it, you will have found those friends, taken those classes and met those professors that inspire you, and found your place, wherever it is, at Middlebury. And then, before you can blink, you too will be attending your 200 Days party.
Perhaps I’m experiencing a premature wave of nostalgia at leaving Middlebury (Midd-sickness, as I heard one alum friend refer to it), but I am reminded now of the great challenge college represents, but also how rewarding the experience can become. I’m determined to make the most of these final 200 days, spend quality time with my friends, and try not to count down the days until the next party…100 days (yikes!).