Tenth week is always a weird time at Carleton. Today was our last day of classes and it feels odd to know that on Friday morning, I won’t need to get up early and go over math homework. I won’t be printing reading out tonight, and I’ll stop chastising myself for not eating before my dance class, because my dance class is over.
In the next week, I’ll be reading a bit, writing a lot, and confronting math in an extremely epic way. I plan on hanging around by the snack bar and finding people with a lot of dining dollars left, and would love to go on the 70-foot slip-and-slide, if that ends up happening. But I’ll also be saying goodbye to friends for the summer, and expressing especially long see-you-laters to people who are going abroad and seniors. Over the next seven days or so, my room will slowly transform back into a sparse cell (albeit with a burnt floor) and over the next few months, I’m worried I’ll forget the sound of my roommate’s alarm, our squeaky door, and an echo that seems exacerbated late at night.
But while I’m getting nostalgic, I also know that next year will most probably be fantastic as well, in a thousand different ways. I was looking back over my first post from this year, and I think I’ve done pretty well with regard to my official expectations. I have selected a major. I have made progress on requirements. I have looked into off-campus study. And these things have certainly made a big difference in how I see myself at college and my college experience, in general. But my September self was right in the fact that a lot of other really cool and meaningful stuff comes from all over the place. This year, I learned how to waltz and play Qwirkle. I’ve roller-bladed inside, seen the Dalai Lama, broken a pinata at midnight, started a new club, and listened to my professors’ band. And a lot of the greatness of this year has also been in the obvious stuff: classes, joking in an inside way, playing chess, talking to professors, making new friends, ordering pizza. I took a bus ride to Iowa, turned an elevator into a dorm room, dressed up as a can of soup, competed in the Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl, and made pancakes for snack. It’s been a pretty awesome run.
This summer, the Carleton people I love will be flung to corners of the country and little sections of the world. A smattering of things my friends are doing: chemistry research here, working for Habitat for Humanity, counseloring at an arts and science camp, environmental research at a university, going on study-abroad programs, working on an urban farm close to home. I’ll be helping high-schoolers learn about civics and government, navigating Amtrak on the East Coast, whitewater kayaking, and beating my cousins at checkers. I’m not going to lie; I’m pretty excited. But I also know that come September, I’ll look out the window of a Northfield Lines bus and see the sign for highway cleanup sponsored by Minnesota Atheists. I'll inhale deeply and smell either cinnamon-sugar or turkey manure, then we'll turn right at Exit 69, and pull up in front of Sayles. The mosquitoes will probably still be out and it might be really muggy. I kind of can't wait.
See you in the fall!