Look around you. Look at all the places, faces, people, ideas, works, goals, dreams you have surrounded yourself with for the past four years, the best years of your life. It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been an adventure. It’s been a disaster. It’s been a blast. Looking around, I cannot believe that I’ll soon only be looking back.
I have a million memories. They’re flying through my mind in a jumbled, dizzy, pied disorder, making me laugh, making me cringe, making me marvel. Some will remain always fresh; some will fade. They’ve all made me who I am, who I’m not, and everything in between.
Freshman year was, well, fresh…full of discovery, experimentation, expectation, confusion. It was a search for identity, for direction, for those people who would become unforgettable to me and I to them. It was a challenge to my intellect, my stamina, my belief system, my tolerance. Bonding with my roommate over the prone figure of her recently-purged ex who had just annointed her backpack late one Monday night. Gaping in wonder at a math prof who explained polar coordinates solely by spinning in a circle and taking two giant strides. Being thrown in at fullback in my first rugby game and desperately evading the hefty specimens of humanity Brown liked to call women. Reconnaissance of wayward apparel from Perry house while the football team was at dinner at Baxter. Heading directly from a Tanglewood concert to Queerbash and never stopping to smile at the juxtaposition. Watching Kenny Becker climb up on a dining hall table and demand of those in the general vicinity, have you TRIED the chicken? Peering into the bizarre neuroses that is the work of Vito Acconci, and realizing that there are some things in life that I will not ever understand.
Sophomore year, you think you know it all. You’re acclimated to the scene; you can spot those clueless froshies from a mile away; you’ve mastered the art of keg line maneuvering. You’re living with five of your closest friends, you’ve started to prioritize. You begin to forge that identity. Living in one of the less-desirous suites of Mission (replete with backwards-beeping trucks at 6 a.m., devoid of a common room), I spent the year piecing together who I wanted to be. It was a rollercoaster of a year, full of emotions and experiences that ran the gamut of intensity.
It was a montage of hopes raised and dashed and raised again. I fell in love a lot, once maybe for real. I dabbled in Art 100 and sang the Messiah. Leigh and I discovered the joys of working at room draw. We were taught the necessity of throwing large objects down echoing stairwells and providing the hapless fire drill crowd with interim entertainment. I found the women who would remain closest to my heart for the rest of college. I was elected to rugby officership.
Junior year. Carter House. 56 men, 17 women. Half of our class was off gallavanting around the world, soaking up culture and life experience. I could not have been happier with my decision to stay on campus.
I’d always thought that I’d spend the year abroad, but when the time came to make that decision, I found myself unable to leave Williams. The world I had indefinitely, but four years here were my allotted portion, and I was jealous with them. The fall was intense, as I learned the delicacy of friendships, tried to balance a million and two things, had some important ones fall. I was the non-JA junior most likely to be found in the freshman quad, where, despite the amusement of my friends, I found some of the most indelible people in my life. I flailed through the Methods of Art History and became a rugby photojournalist. I was still maybe in love. The spring was a madcap romp through happiness and indulgence, the high point of my Williams career. We were absurd and unrestrained and reveled in one another because it was our job. We abused the ski team’s PA system and videotaped more absurdity. We tangled, tousled and teased ourselves through the semester. I discovered Lolita. We were indomitable.
I cannot believe that senior year is now gone by. The year of extremity, of euphoria, of catastrophe, of glory, of despair, of delight, of denouement. Who knew at First Chance Dance that our Last Chance would descend so quickly? It was a year of highlights. Dominating the rugby pitch in unprecedented fashion. Senior seminaring into uncharted academia. Crashing and learning what matters and who. Hosting and planning and spreading too thin. Finally being there when it mattered. It became a year of introspection and of stock-taking and of accepting.
Suddenly, what you’re going to be when you grow up is not as fun a game to play as when you were little. It’s reality. Suddenly, there are a million things I want to do, to say, to experience, to try and suddenly, it’s all over.
I’m out of time and I’m out of space. Pretty soon I’ll be out of here. This cursory retrospective can only allude to the splendid chaos that has ordered itself into my Williams experience. There are not enough words to articulate, not enough shades to illustrate. It’s been my heartbeat for four years. I can only hope that it has been yours, too.