Senior Retrospective: Claire Grosel

As a junior, I remember reading the senior retrospectives and deciding at that moment, I would be sure to write one as a senior. My reflection would capture all the beautiful aspects of Vassar and the reasons I love it. Never mind that as an econ major I could probably count the number of papers I have written on my fingers and toes.

Little did I know that this task would be even more daunting than my upcoming complex analysis exam. Little did I know that the list of reasons I started to sketch out that night about why I love Vassar would not even come close to capturing how I feel about the end of this year approaching. Bear with me as I try.

I never get tired of walking this campus. I’ve walked the winding path from Main to Kenyon and up those horribly proportioned stairs by CIS countless times, but there’s still wonder in each step. Everything changes and feels different each time. Whether the morning sun bouncing off the brick of the quad dorms or the dark cold that takes your breath away.

Then again, maybe what’s changing is me.

I expected to change after my first year at Vassar. I was initially fairly introverted, but found myself soon spending countless hours in the welcoming Jewett common rooms. I did not expect to continue to change each year after that.

To this day, I don’t like to think of it as change, since I still feel like the same person. Rather, I am still the same flower, but a small bud does not look the same as a blossom.

By the end of sophomore year, I found out what I was made of in more demanding classes and the chance for expression in everything from tap dance to clarinet in orchestra and saxophone in jazz.

Come the spring months of junior year, I had once again dived deeper into leadership, helping Vass Shakers form its roots and attempting to build structure in VSA Activities Committee.

It’s hard to say where I stand now, but it’s definitely not in the same place as where September-Claire was. Unexpected change strikes again!

I loved most of all that I have gotten to see everyone else bloom as well. It’s a thrill to see friends experience their own similar but individual growth as they immerse themselves in their passions.

Everyone is more realized versions of themselves. It feels like people who had spent time in lab before now spend 90 percent of their time there, while others huddle into thesis carrels, or go to endless hours of rehearsal. Watching, experiencing, and living these transitions is so vivid and unexpected. It’s exhilarating.

I have experienced unparalleled collaboration in each class—something I will continue to take with me beyond Vassar. The experience of all working together to understand something the best it can be is unforgettable.

Professors, friends and classmates push me to look at things in new ways and strive even better. Questions like, “can you really make that assumption about that analysis?” “is this art?” and “what would happen if you sewed a frog to a pigeon?”

Not to mention other important learning points. Such as when it’s right to say “no” when you’re already over-committed, when falling asleep in the sun on your towel is more important than finishing that problem set before dinner, and when to turn off the WiFi on your computer to write that essay.

Yet, the most memorable moments are in the everyday: talking at the deece until you’re told they’re closing; the peace of enjoying a Nilda’s in the library on a rainy Tuesday afternoon; a particularly funny YouTube video; bouncing home from the TAs locked arms with friends on either side. These are the memories I will cherish most. I have this zany little place, Vassar, to thank for it. The opportunity to questions, to learn, and to grow. Thank you!

 

—Claire Grosel is an economics major from Boston, MA.

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