St. Olaf Sentiments: October 17, 2014

In some ways, entering senior year is akin to waking up from a blissful nap as your roommate blares “All About that Bass.” It is harsh. It is a real paradigm shift.

Suddenly, your “LOL everything I do is just an experiment!” mindset gives way to “I can’t just ignore Piper Center e-mails anymore and wait, the GRE costs $200? How will I pay for Taco Bell?” For the last three years, fall has felt like a season of new opportunity, but now it’s more about the decay of your willpower and innocence.

Despite the onslaught of responsibility and pressure, there are some undeniable privileges that come with being a senior. Most of them are directly linked to giving yourself permission to not care about things. I’ve compiled a list of things that no longer matter to me now that I’m in my final God willing year of undergraduate education.

1. Eating alone. Underclassmen tend to assume that eating alone will irrevocably mark you as a leper. But admit it – there are days when you don’t want to talk to anyone. You just want to focus on your unidentifiable stir-fry from Bowls and three desserts, rather than shoulder the burden of small talk.

2. Impressing people. You have unlocked the secret of the universe, which is that literally no one cares if you wear elastic-waistband pants every day of the week. Literally no one cares if your obligatory class participation is an incoherent string of gibberish. Sweating the small stuff is not just unnecessary; it actually cuts into your valuable Netflix ‘n nap time.

3. FOMO. So-called “fear of missing out” is as inevitable as hunger, loneliness, physical pain, etc. But as a senior, you’ll find your FOMO steadily weakening, attaching itself only to the people and events that really matter. Senior year clarifies which friendships will prevail post-graduation.

4. Attendance. This may be a controversial point. After all, with tuition prices at an all-time high, an hour of class is worth more than 10 hours of minimum wage labor yeah, think about that next time you’re counting the seconds until your shift is over. Still, you are allowed to set a higher priority than class – be it for your mental health, a job interview or a day of fun YOLO adventures with your senior friends.

5. Pretending that we’re at Hogwarts. Kildahl is still an eyesore, Quidditch is still on the ground. And I have most definitely accepted that I am not the “Chosen One.”

6. Being well-rounded. We can all more or less agree that it is worthwhile to study a broad range of subjects. St. Olaf is probably sucking for you if you don’t. I’m finally at peace, though, with having two or three skills and being utterly mediocre at everything else. If I can’t do math beyond basic arithmetic, it’s fine, because I was born this way hey.

Though senior year is somewhat maddening – and sometimes I spontaneously break into a sweat because I’m terrified of what comes next – I feel free. Younger friends, that is what you have to look forward to. It’s not apathy, not a lack of motivation; it’s having the confidence and wisdom to discern what matters.

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