Senior Retrospectives: Kimberly Nguyen

On the first day of Orientation, when everyone told me that college just flies by, I didn’t believe it. In the moment, time doesn’t seem to move at all. Each year, the last remnants of summer—when the A/C-less dorms were absolute torture—seemed to want to stick around forever. That 10:30 a.m. class on Shakespeare ceaselessly dragged on. The weekend never came fast enough. Yet here I am, in the blink of an eye, somehow at the end.

It seems like just yesterday that I moved into my first-year room in Jewett. Orientation week was a blur, probably just like senior week will be. I remember it being extremely hot. I remember being scared I wouldn’t make any friends. I remember how quickly I made Vassar my home, and now I’m flying the coop again. I’m going to have to learn how to make another place home.

It didn’t hit me when I moved into my TA at the beginning of last semester, and it hasn’t hit me yet as I’m beginning to pack my things away, that this is the last time I will call this place home. I will miss taking pictures of the cotton candy sunsets and strolling around Sunset Lake. Never again will I lounge on the quad with friends during springtime, procrastinating on finals. I will miss texting my friends and inviting them to Deece with me every night, or sharing my mango sticky rice with my best friend after finals. I will miss living within five minutes of all my close companions and being able to just walk to hang out with them.

Truth be told, I am terrified of leaving this all behind. I have dreaded graduating since the beginning of college. Some people say that life post-grad is awesome, but I can’t yet fathom it. How could it be awesome with my friends scattered all around the country and the world? Will I even be able to make new ones in the real world? Will people in the real world like me enough to even want to be my friend? What patch of green grass will I ever feel at home enough again to lounge on?

I also feel like there’s so much I still have to do and still so much I need to accomplish. I regret that I didn’t know college was going to fly by so quickly and that I didn’t seize more opportunities as they came my way. I need to go back and take Art History 101. I still need to join the yearbook and rowing or maybe try out for a cappella again, despite not getting called back my freshman year. And perhaps writing this in itself is a manifestation of my anxiety that I didn’t write enough Misc articles. I should’ve written so many more.

But there are so many things I did do. I took classes that interested me. I completed a double major (by accident). I fell in love with poetry. I self-published two volumes of my own poetry. I studied abroad in England and then went to France and Ireland. I learned how to cook for myself. And the achievement that I’m most proud of is that I catalysed the raise of Vassar’s student wage for the students who will come after me. Not everyone gets the privilege of leaving a legacy, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to leave mine.

At the end of the day, despite being in denial and despite my desire to procrastinate on packing, I am going to leave this place. Before I go, I want to leave one last legacy. I have three pieces of advice I’d like to give underclassmen so they are more ready to leave than I am when their time finally comes:

No deadline is that deep. Take care of yourself and be with your friends as much as you can.

Don’t let fear stop you from joining that org. This is the last time in your life you can be fearless and reckless.

So this is the last time you can be fearless and reckless. Make it count.

I may be leaving Vassar, but Vassar will never leave me. I will carry this place, and all the memories and friends I made in my heart until the end of my days. I love you. Thank you, Vassar, for the best college experience a person could ask for. I can’t wait to see you again at reunion.

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