As freshman year is rapidly approaching its curtain call, I find myself in an increasingly retrospective frame of mind each day. My hours of abstruse musings have led me to believe that if we look clearly, there are patterns of recurrence and replication everywhere such that when we stand at the threshold of an ending year, we can say we have come full circle. College is essentially a chrysalis with distinct stages which every person who has taken up this challenge goes through. How is it that one can detect a freshman as easily as one can point out an American drawl in England?
As such, there are so many archetypal “freshman” things to do. As a freshman, you will be brimming with enthusiasm, will find it odd to stay at home and do problem sets on a Thursday and will strike up a conversation with every new person who sits at your table at Okenshields. You can make a thousand mistakes but it’s okay, “you’re just a freshman.” You can actually spend your summer break doing what summer breaks are meant for: nothing. It is the one year of your entire life when passions run high and your spirit transcends all record breaking heights simply because you are blessed with the privilege of knowing nothing.
However, the most important thing that will happen to you during your freshman year is that you will mess up and might be left trying to construe where exactly the semester went and whether or not it was an absolute waste. But the promising fact of the matter, ladies and gentlemen, is that at the end of the year, the weight of being successful and having traversed emotional and mental distances is again replaced by the lightness of beginning. It is only then when you will truly perceive what, after all, is the whole point of the struggle of the “life on the Hill.” Because all of a sudden, freshman year is over in a flash and you leave RPCC and Nasties behind never to turn around and look back again. As you transcend from the innocence of North Campus to the indulgence of sophomore year, you will find yourself growing up.
Frat parties are not the highlight of the week anymore; they are replaced by rare weekends when you actually get to see all the people who you consider your closest friends. The sophomore slump will likely try to obliterate you, but you will probably survive. You will make better mistakes than the ones you made in your freshman year (for the most part.)There will be a new lot of freshman babies who will replace you and in the whole process, there will be a remarkable group of very fine men and women who will exit this recurring cycle of college life. By the end of your sophomore year, you will probably be knocked out by the realization that you might have to actually graduate in only two years.
In your junior year, you will likely be rewarded (finally) for those all-nighters you pulled because you spent your days organizing logistics for twenty different student bodies or clubs or wait, The Cornell Daily Sun. It seems that junior year is when life is actually a requiem and your professional, and I hope earnestly, your personal life is a glorious haze.
Finally, you will be initiated into the indispensable senior year which was always lurking around the corner to consume you with all the nostalgia, deluges of happiness and sadness alike it brings forth — like the perfect finale to a phenomenal trilogy of movies. With your last and final year on the Hill, a hallowed look will begin to set in on your brow because you have seen all and known all that is to know. You have served your time at Cornell and have come out the other end of the spiral simply to realize that you are back where you started, richer nevertheless in terms of memories, a little more sensible (hopefully) and with friendships and relationships that will last at least a lifetime. I have asked every senior I know which year was their very best at Cornell and they are always at sea, simply because each of these four stages are extremely crucial in making you the strong, admirable person you are with the ability to go through any sort of weather — literally and metaphorically.
Aditi Bhowmick is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Abstruse Musings appears alternate Mondays this semester.
Original Author: Aditi Bhowmick