Senior Thoughts: Upon Fourther Reflection

By Oluyemisi Bolonduro ’23

Salutations! It’s been two years since I’ve written a Voices blog post, but it’s good to be back. A lot has changed since my fun lil’ celebration of finals week, whether it’s academically, developmentally, interpersonally… even extracurricularly, if that’s a word. One thing that’s the same: I still love the number four and using it to frame each corner of a blog’s content (picture a square ‘cuz they have four sides and make a perfect frame). Conveniently, I just wrapped up the fourth week of my final semester at Pomona College. I was in such a reflective state that I thought, “why not write about it?” So, without further ado, reflections four you!

two students doing handstands outside
“Attempt handstand” is one of my recent whims!

When you reach the ripe state of “second semester senior,” you may find yourself in a weird limbo of past, present and future. For me personally, it feels like bouncing through four different dimensions. Dimension One (past) is first-year fun before pandemic, panic and parting from Pomona pals until CDC notice. Dimension Two (past) is junior year, but, mentally, it’s like reliving first year because I never really got a grip on things before I had to scurry and hurry off campus. (Note: I have not yet figured out how sophomore year/quarantine year fit into these dimensions.) Dimension Three (present) is senior year… like, right now. Dimension Four (future) is the rest of senior year and post-grad life. It is safe to assume that I spend more time in Dimensions One, Two and Four than in Three.

I must confess, it took me a long time to reconcile the jarring differences between Dimensions One and Two. Another confession: I’m still in the process of blending and accepting the realities. I regularly find myself reminiscing about how things were my first year and how they were different my junior year and how they’re still not the same my senior year. I go back and forth and forth and back and back to forth. I’m really good at complaining, which means I often sound stingingly bitter. But deep down, I’m grateful that my favorite things didn’t disappear:

I can still get challah bread on Thursday evenings and Friday mornings.

I can still get boba from Milk & Honey on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

I can still discover pianists playing video game music in the lounges.

I can still lay on green slabs of nature as the sun sets (Marston Quad and/or Walker Beach).

Occasionally, I remember that these past memories can still be present delights. Nobody said I can’t ask my friends if they want to get challah after breakfast and eat our loaves with hot chocolate on Marston! But more often than not, I skip to Dimension Four.

I start to think that it’s almost too late to do these things, and I start to think that I should say ‘yes’ to every little thing that piques my interest ‘cuz in four months I likely won’t be able to do it anymore and I start to think that I took everything for granted and! and! and… I start to think that maybe I can redirect this energy to me, today, right now. When this happens, I finally settle and nestle in Dimension Three.

Relax, I tell myself. A lot of living can happen in three months. I tell myself that it’s quite ambitious to try to do everything. Perhaps even self-sabotaging. Although the dining halls are all-you-can-eat, it’s okay to stop taking plates and bowls loaded with more than I can bite and chew. Peaceful sips are grand too! I tell myself that people who take things for granted probably aren’t even worrying if they’ve taken things for granted. I tell myself that underneath all this dread and fear of regret is a sign that I’ve actually been enjoying my time here. (I must confess, I originally wrote “enjoyed my time here” as if I’m already gone.)

Not like I’m actively keeping track, but I will graduate in three months. When I find myself fixating on the fourteenth day of the fifth month in the Gregorian calendar after two thousand and twenty-three solar circulations, I ask myself what would make me stationary in Dimension Three. I’ve found that fulfilling a whim reveals how I’m responding to myself and staying present.

Spontaneity calms my anxiety.

My goal for the next three months is to respond to at least one whim a day. Yes, this makes me seem like a Sim, but I think I’ll experience very nice moodlets. I’d love to tell you all the spontaneous things I’m gonna do in Dimension Three. But I can’t plan or predict impulse, y’know? I guess you’ll just have to wait until I write about it!