I don’t think anyone who knows me would call me “sugarcoated,” since 1) I always address my feelings and 2) that’s a stupid way to describe a person. That being said, I will not sugarcoat my Vassar experience.
Everyone sugarcoated the shit out of the “abroad experience.” “It’s the fastest semester of college!” “The best time of your life!” “The people! The food! The partying!” I would beg to differ. Being abroad was exciting and beautiful but it was simultaneously always depressing and lonely and nerve-wracking. Because life is not experienced in quaint epithets. Being abroad, as being at Vassar, occurred in complicated fits and spurts, with moments of joy and pain. My Vassar career will end abruptly and I will be left adrift. This was not always to be expected.
While searching for schools, my main objective was to go to a college that would be so good it would obliterate high school memories. After those drama-drenched days, Vassar was a superior escape. On December 14, 2009, I was accepted early decision and the moment was unequivocally one of elation. All of the Slosses cried. My mother called everyone. I feigned embarrassment, but I was just as eager to tell everyone. Vassar was the perfect school.
My first year, when the Lathrop House Team welcomed me, I burst into tears. Wide-eyed and overwhelmed and desperately excited, I felt instantly connected to the school. All of the students in Lathrop I met were wild and loving. I couldn’t imagine having been in a different dorm.
While on a shopping trip to Target during our first orientation week, I received the worst call of my life. Elias, a fellow group best friend, comforted me more kindly than any near-stranger could have possibly been expected to do. These were my Lathrop wonders, these talented and considerate and crazy peers. How Vassar constructed such an intimate group of dynamic students to support and entertain me through my first year is unknown, but I am eternally grateful.
My sophomore year was, in every way that matters, my fellowees. My twelve babies, arriving from all over the country, made my second year worthwhile. My babies had needs and enthusiasm and an inclination to shout that kept me up many a night—but they were divine. A collection of Vassar’s best, this set of freshmen sparkled from their very first day where Alex leaned against a pillow on a wall rather than sit down, all the way to our Founder’s Day brunch where no one could open the champagne. Alex Koren, my old student fellow, rescued us then as I would come to aid my fellowees.
In some ways, upon reflection, these first two years represent an obvious peak. I was fresh and eager in a way I had never been in high school.
The third year was hard, easily the worst of my college years, and not worthy of much discussion. My only caveat would be to say that in times of crisis at Vassar your peers will always rise to the occasion. Like my surprise housemates in the SoCos, intelligent, interesting, wonderful feminists who knew everything about everything and made truly incredible vegan dinners. Or Taylor, endlessly giving, who allowed me to crawl into her dorm room in the middle of the night and sleep on the floor, and did p90X with me and laughed until we cried at Tony’s quotes. These Vassar girls, I tell you. They know how to be.
The summer following a horrid third year, I came back. Thank God for Paola. At the behest of Alix and Antonio, who assured her I could do good work, and to whom I am endlessly thankful, she allowed me to work as a tour guide. Sweating through dresses and shouting at prospective families, I spouted rehearsed phrases about Main building and our D-III athletes and bonded with my coworkers. We occupied the tiny underground mail room with vigor.
That summer I lived in the only air conditioned housing available at Vassar with some of the best people I’ve ever known, people who did not judge me for creating a work out room and laughed at my FitSpo quotes (a la: “Work Out Hard or Die Trying.) I emerged from summer rejuvenated, ready to approach my final year at Vassar with all of the enthusiasm of my Freshmen year self.
Now here I am. The end of my final year, unable to recall much. 7&7s with my stunningly beautiful and smart housemates. Struggling through diehard essays for Merrell with Emmy. Ack Bad’s with my HYPE biddies. A big ten party that “some say” was the #highlightoftheyear. Oh, and I fell in love. After three and a half years of lackluster romance, it is easy to feel like maybe it will never happen. Michael, my person, serious and smart and giddy, dancing in the shower and reading my screenplay and making me better. Could there be a better senior year? These are my people.
I suppose I owe Vassar one. As much as I’d love to omit all sugar-coating, I can’t help but feel grateful. These kids, my peers, came to Vassar together. We arrived Freshmen year all eager, but pretending we weren’t eager, when actually we just wanted to make out with every hot person who passed. It was here that we met our partners and soul mates and girl crushes and best friends and frenemies.
These video artists, basketball players, Lathrop freshmen, economics majors, sustainability interns, auction house employees and opera singers entered our lives because of Vassar, and so we are changed.
This matters. It matters that we found each other here, for however brief it may have been, we emerge significant.
We will always have these four years together, bemoaning finals, dancing in off-campus parties, and staring open-mouthed at the sky when the weather, at last, turns pleasant. A magnificent thank you to each and every one of you, and all of my love.
—Lily Sloss is a film major. She is an outgoing columnist for The Miscellany News and served as HYPE’s publicity chair.