The Half-Way Point
Connecticut College Students
By Rachel J.
Unigo Campus Rep at Connecticut College
As I’m sitting here at my desk listening to my favorite Shins song, something feels terribly wrong. Looking around, I no longer see photos of my friends on the walls or my Christmas decorations that stayed up all year, or even my boxes of tea taking up all the room on my bookshelf. A few hours ago, I was so excited to heading back home for the summer. A few hours ago, I was looking forward to packing up everything I own because at that point, anything was better than writing another essay. Now that my sophomore year has come to a close, it suddenly dawns on me that I am halfway done with my college career. I am two years away from being done with school forever. It is such a shattering thought because school is all I’ve known my entire life. All of a sudden, I’m not so excited to leave.
The weirdest thing for me is that I already feel like I’m graduating. After surviving the most stressful semester of my entire life, I feel like I am out of here for good and I am not happy about it. Next fall, I will be spending a semester overseas in Paris and already, I am missing my best friends Liz and Kelly. I haven’t even left them yet -- Kelly is coming over in 20 minutes so we can go pick up Liz at the train station. Just being here in this empty room makes me feel like I’ve already left, though. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for Paris -- it is going to be an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience. But a big part of me wishes I were on campus next semester. It is such a bittersweet experience -- Conn offers exceptional study abroad programs but, at the same time, Conn feels like home and I am reluctant to give that up.
I am not a person who welcomes change. I can honestly say that I was not excited for college. On paper, I knew Conn would be the perfect fit for me because it offered everything I was looking for in a school. Realistically speaking, though, I was really settling into summer and did not want to let go of that lifestyle so quickly. The instant I stepped onto Conn’s campus, no longer a prospective student but an actual freshman, I felt a shiver of excitement. The day that truly marked my place at Conn College was not during freshman orientation or the first Thursday night of carefree partying; it was the day I found out that I made it onto the sailing team. Once my niche was identified, I felt like there was no other school for me. I was in love with Conn College and everything it had to offer me. Everything that seemed so amazing on paper was coming to life -- fantasy was becoming reality. That’s when it hit me: I am in college and the opportunities I pursue here can determine the outcome of the rest of my life.
Turning around now to look into my closet is super-depressing because it is completely empty. Some of those clothes that were hanging up in there will have the luxury of coming to Paris with me next fall. It is just so strange -- it is like that this is no longer my closet or even my room. A month ago, two freshman boys knocked on the door of this double that I share with Liz and proudly announced, “This is going to be OUR room next year! Sweet, man, there’s a balcony? Dude, next year is going to be sick.” Our beautiful room that was decorated with so much care, that housed so many precious memories, is going to be the abode of some crazy boys. A lot is going to change when I return next spring -- my French speaking skills will have improved, I will be living in a single, and the search for the ideal summer internship will be under way. Already, I can sense that I will have to be more independent and start to ignore the inner ten-year-old in me that wants to return home every summer to play in the waves at the beach and to stain my fingers red from strawberry picking. In two years, I am going to have a real job and pay my own rent. In two years, summer vacation will seem like a relic of the past, laughably impossible to revive. I am two years away from being an adult, which is probably the scariest thing of all. This means that I have two years left that I can get away with being a kid and I intend to make the most out of them possible.
One should not think of college as the means for getting a job, just as high school was the means for getting into college. It is really important to stop, breathe, and enjoy the years left that you have in school. This is your one last opportunity to be a kid -- embrace that inner 10-year-old and go insane. Make memories that will stay with you for a long time. Conn is the perfect fit for me, but in two years, I will no longer have the chance to hang out at Cro on Thursday nights, sun on the Green with friends, sail boats on the Thames River, or relax with live music on Floralia. College is what you make of it -- get involved and be the person you want to be. If you are excited to get out into the real world and leave school days behind without so much as a backward glance, you have failed at achieving an A in the closing chapter of your childhood.