A New Year

A new school year is particularly exciting because of its pristine promise.  Untouched, it isn’t tarnished with a pile of papers or some looming exam.  Instead, I peer at it, somehow distanced, and it is beautiful, comprised of Frary cookies and finished problem sets and warm Claremont nights.

OA leaders gather to welcome the first-years in front of Marston Quad.

Moments after Labor Day, this portrait is abolished and the school year is close and real in my face.  The snow globe image of what my perfect year ought to be has shattered, and in its place sits a realer, sharper thing, which is so much worse and so much better.  My problem sets are not completed and they aren’t aligned in a neat pile: they are spread out and I’m halfway finished.  Claremont is sunny but offers no cool breeze, and I feel imminent heatstroke upon me as I trek to class.

However, this vague image of my perfect year cannot capture the buzz on campus when a new term rolls around, and glosses over the reunions and hopefulness of the new syllabi.  It cannot paint the assured feeling of being inarguably caught-up after a single class, and it does not lend itself to late nights of chatter and movies and games (and homework, let’s face it.)

This new year promises a new addition to my hopeful expectations, and as a senior, I delve into what we so endearingly refer to as “the last of the firsts.”  My final first day of school zipped past me as did my final idealization of my ethereal year.  I’ll cling to these weird last-firsts like an emotional life vest, floating me at the surface of my conflicted emotions.  The thought of leaving this place is scary to us all, and I’ll appreciate it in a whole new way this year (and even more so the next.)