I have ten weeks left of my final semester at IU. Ten weeks to get through the last bits of classes, and to soak in all the experiences I’ve taken for granted for the past four years. But there’s a complexity to final semester senior year that I hadn’t expected — senioritis. It’s a little different for every senior, but seems to manifest itself most often in a combination of delight at the prospect of no longer having to attend classes and a stringent desire to never leave our beloved IU.
I fluctuate often between the two feelings, but in my final semester, I seem to be stuck on the latter.
The knowledge that I am graduating and will so shortly be leaving IU behind has colored almost every experience I’ve had so far this year with gray sadness. In my head I’ve made a list of “The Lasts” — my last time in the student section of Memorial Stadium, the last literature class I completed for my English degree, the last time I will walk to class, my last Little 500. Some lasts have happened already and some are yet to come, already tainted by my sadness before I even experience them.
My senioritis reached its peak this weekend at the IU vs. Northwestern game. The game also functioned as Senior Night in honor of the graduating class, chief among us IU basketball player Collin Hartman, the only senior on this year’s roster.
It was an incredible game — a nail-biter that ended in victory for IU — but even as I shared in the euphoric happiness that swept through Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, that senior sadness overcame me.
As much as I wanted to stay in the moment, I couldn’t shake the knowledge that this was my final IU basketball game as a student, perhaps even my last moments in Assembly Hall. I was sad as well as frustrated by my own somber mood.
But then, in his senior farewell speech just after the victory over Northwestern, Collin Hartman did something that knocked me out of my tearful reverie. He called his girlfriend, IU cheerleader and fellow senior Hayley Daniel, to join him on the court and asked her to marry him. She accepted to much applause.
The moment was meaningful for a lot of reasons, but for me, it was a lesson that I’ve been looking at my senior year all wrong.
Here were two people teetering on the same precipice that I was — graduation, leaving IU — that were making a visible commitment to being excited about the future sans-Bloomington.
Now, I’m not advocating going out and grabbing the first likely-looking coed you see, but I do think the Hartman-Daniel engagement is a testament to the fact that life doesn’t stop when we graduate.
There are milestones to reach and happy memories to be made outside of the college experience, something I seem to have forgotten in the past few months.
While I may not have a specific event like a wedding to look forward to, spending the rest of my senior year knee-deep in nostalgia is a waste of what time I have left here. Why mar a perfectly good experience with moping? Better to go out with a bang — save the sadness and reminiscence for the fifty year reunion.
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