Senior Retrospective: Everything is okay

To the Misc: The summer after my first year at Vassar, I felt so disconnected. I looked back on the beginning of my time at college and saw a blur of attempts to achieve the illusive bliss that movies had always told me I would feel. At the same time, I rejected the idea of involving myself in orgs, for fear that doing so would brand me in a certain way or somehow box me in. I didn’t feel fulfilled by my academics;they were so far down on my priority list that I gave them very little attention. 

One day in August, I went to a coffee shop with my laptop. I didn’t have an idea or a goal except to write something fun. What came out was a piece about Roxane Gay and Kanye West, and when I finished, I was proud––a feeling I had sorely missed within my academic work. On a whim, I googled the Misc’s Arts editor and sent the piece in. What followed is a tale as old as 1866: every week, the editors sent a plea for articles and every week I obliged, finding myself far more attracted to the paper than to school. Eventually, I fell into the role of co-Arts editor, and Tuesday nights––complete with the lack of sleep and hair-tearing computer crashes––became my favorite time of the week. Thank you to the Misc for providing the relief of joyful writing and editing, and for helping me learn that being part of a team isn’t something to fear, but to cherish. You all taught me the value of community and collaboration, and the pride that comes with pouring your soul into a project. 

To my favorite professor: It feels odd to refer to you that way, as you are so much more than a professor to me. You have been my teacher, yes, but also my confidant, advisor (both academically and, far more importantly, in life) and above all, friend. Your guidance has carried me from my second semester at Vassar through my final year, which I know we both sometimes doubted would come. Having you in my corner to celebrate my successes and reframe my anxieties and fears helped me find the strength to stay true to myself as I navigated these four years. Thank you.

To my first boyfriend: Meeting you in the Deece on the first day of orientation was perhaps the single moment that most shaped my Vassar career. I arrived at college having found a deep love for myself after years of insecurity in high school; being with you showed me how to radiate that love outwards to include another person. Our years together taught me what it is to care for someone in a soul-touching way, even when you infuriated me beyond belief. Our years apart afterward taught me what it is to mourn, and then to pick myself up and step into a changed but authentic version of myself. Our friendship now is teaching me what unconditional love is: I have so much care for you, and I am very glad to share this bond with you after so much time.

To my second boyfriend: Getting to know you was the easiest thing in the world. I cannot imagine a day when we run out of things to say to each other. You brought such light into my life at a very scary time and helped me redefine Vassar for my final chapter here. I know I’ve learned so much from you, but I haven’t processed it enough to write it down yet, so I’ll just say this: I will always be on your team, and I am so grateful to have you forever on mine. Also, a huge thank you for encouraging me to ride my bike and play my guitar.

To my friends: It took me a while to realize how amazing you are. You always were, though, from the very beginning. I wish I had the space to list each of you and the impacts you’ve individually had on me; instead, I will thank you collectively for all the support and love we gave one another through the pains and joys of burgeoning adulthood. I literally feel a physical warmth at the thought of how lucky I am to have made so many incredible friends at Vassar. I haven’t always been able to recognize just how many people there are here who love me and whom I love, but at the end of these four years I finally see all of you. Thank you for carrying me, and for letting me carry you.

To myself: I have simply the most love for you. College seemed impossible and stupid at the beginning and many times throughout, but look how you’ve grown! Thank you for choosing to spend a year abroad in two different places––you are now able to find yourself wherever you find yourself. Thank you for making the time to sit alone at Sunset Lake at night. Thank you for letting so many people in, and for being so capable of love. Thank you for knowing your worth and not settling for anything less. This time in life is absolutely terrifying, but as you move forward, remember your lifeline phrase from this past Founder’s Day: Everything is okay.

 

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