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Columns

Isman ’15: We shouldn’t succumb to senioritis

By
Opinions Columnist
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

As graduation day inches closer, I increasingly feel waves of uncontrollable emotions ebbing and flowing through me. While sometimes I’m excited to be done with classes or sad to think of saying goodbye to Brown, I mostly feeling no sense of urgency anymore.

Throughout the last four years at Brown, I always looked forward to doing better, working harder, continually exploring and learning. With just one month left — and a thesis finally completed — I have fallen under the spell of senioritis. While succumbing to this period of sleeping in, breezing through homework and going out most weeknights is a natural reaction for both fired up and burned out seniors, it also hinders us from making those precious last weeks of college count.

Second-semester seniors should not give in to senioritis completely because we can’t guarantee that wherever we are next year will provide us with the same opportunities to keep exploring and learning from our surroundings. While it’s hard to put your last class — one you might not even really need to graduate — before going out or hanging out, we should take advantage of the amazing learning environment that is Brown until the last moment.

This campus is brimming with possibilities to learn both inside and outside the classroom. The plethora of events accessible to Brown students can sometimes be taken for granted. For those seniors moving to large cities, thinking about all the things our new homes will offer can sometimes mean overlooking all the things we can keep taking advantage of here. Moreover, if there were more events tailored for seniors — more than senior nights at bars, but maybe events during the day as well — maybe we would be more inclined to attend. That way we can hang out with a lot of our friends at once, rather than making individual plans.

Granted, it sometimes seems like everything Brown has to offer and teach us has already been given. It’s hard to see this last month as adding so much more to our lives or educations. But we should never give up on learning from Brown. Long after we graduate, and regardless of whether we will be coming back to campus to visit or not, Brown will have something new to add to our experiences.

Sometimes all you have to do is step outside to encounter someone with whom you could have an interesting conversation. As seniors we have a hard time peeling ourselves off the couch to interact with people who aren’t in our immediate group of friends. We seem to think we have found the people we are meant to be with — “no new friends” is our motto, but it shouldn’t be.

But after graduation there is no guarantee that whole groups of friends will be moving to the same city. Campus still has thousands of interesting people we should give a chance. Expanding our small world at Brown helps prepare us to broaden our perspective off the Hill. We should be thankful for and take advantage of a campus full of friendly people. Maybe the person we meet during our last month of school will end up in the same city we’re moving to and become a close friend.

Talking with friends, we all agreed that starting next year we will have fewer hesitations about making friends. Moving to a new city can be scary, and having a familiar face could change that. As my friend said, “Now, I would never go up to a person and say, ‘Hey, I’m so-and-so’s friend, let’s hang out,’ but next year, it won’t matter, I will talk to everyone who I might have crossed paths with during my time at Brown.”

Since most of us have finished our theses and class requirements, this might be the time to move classwork down the priorities ladder. Now is the time to take advantage of everything else Brown has to offer. While giving up completely is not the answer either, seniors should work less and spend more time developing stronger bonds with the people we want to stay in touch with and participating in events we might not have had the chance to in previous years.

More than that, seniors should embrace the possibility of a reduced course load. Many people want to prioritize finding a job, but it’s often hard to do this while maintaining a full slate of courses — or when your professor tells you that missing class for a job interview is not an excused absence. As we prepare to leave school and enter the world beyond, it makes sense that we want to — or even need to — rearrange our priorities.

Perhaps the biggest issue with our attitude is that we blame this change on senioritis rather than taking responsibility for it. It’s understandable to want to wash our hands of responsibilities, but often we blame senioritis rather than understanding that what we’re feeling is normal. As the prospect of a job and real responsibilities loom, we want to enjoy the last few months of irresponsibility.

I have found myself saying to my friends, “This is my last chance to act like a child and be treated like an adult, and I will take advantage of it.” And maybe, that’s the reason why so many of us embrace senioritis, because we know that starting next year we will be held accountable for our jobs, paying our rent, buying our own food. With many of our commitments at Brown coming to an end, we want to take advantage of the freedom we have to be irresponsible for perhaps the last time in our lives.

We should continuously be creating new memories, meeting new people and learning new things. This is a motto we should take with us even after we graduate. Brown, our jobs and new cities will always have something new to offer even when it feels like we already know it all. That’s why I will make the most of my last month at Brown, continuing to attend rehearsals for Badmaash, participating in small performances with Attitude and making sure to meet friends for dinner or drinks somewhere outside our houses. And I will make sure that when I step through the Van Wickle Gates, it feels not like an end to but like a continuation of everything I’ve learned at Brown and who I’ve become.

Sami Isman ’15 will (try) start getting out of bed earlier.

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