November 13, 2020

STELLA | Senior Citizenship in College

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Whether it’s noticing some grey hairs in the mirror or blurred eyesight at 20 feet, it’s time to face the unforgiving fact that we are getting old. As seniors, we’re concluding our second-to-last semester on Cornell’s campus, and the three and a half years have taken a toll. Maybe the true meaning of senioritis this year isn’t the lack of motivation to do work (we’re all unmotivated with an online semester), but rather the creaks in our knees and the urge to turn the music down on our car radios.

I remember entering Cornell as a puppy-eyed, clean shaven freshman. I looked at the seniors with awe and admiration (though, looking back, they probably viewed us with disdain and laughter). I was nervous to raise my hand in class, but now the little blue hand goes up every time I want to make a half-witted pun in poetry.  I was eager to meet new people, but now I hold the close door button in the elevator to avoid passing conversations. I was energetic for our PE requirements, but now you couldn’t roll me off the couch to go for a run with the promise of a signed Frank Sinatra picture). It doesn’t feel all that long ago, but a lot has changed.

Maybe you’re not feeling the same way yet in your final year. Maybe the thought of eating a grilled cheese from Nasties at 3 a.m. doesn’t give you indigestion, but it doesn’t take much for us to realize, or rather, accept the truth. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be a senior citizen.

  1. All excitement for birthdays has halted because who wants to keep getting older after reaching the legal drinking age?
  2. Your hangover lasts all the way up until dinner time: 4:30 p.m. at the earliest.
  3. You were born in the same century as Mother Theresa.
  4. You’ve gotten angry with the younger kids in your extracurricular organization for disrespecting their elders, even if your ideas are outdated and unhelpful.
  5. You can grow a full mustache for Movember, and find some greys.
  6. You’re the last person in class to figure out all of the features on Zoom (we’ve spent three years with in-person classes, we don’t like change).
  7. You play one recreational soccer game, then can’t bend over for two days due to unadulterated back pain and your significant other has to get you an appointment at a massage spa even though you’re afraid of the touch of a stranger.
  8. The most important items on your Wegman’s list have changed from Diet Coke and Ruffles to toilet paper and Tums because you’ve developed acid reflux and IBS (two ant-acids a day keeps the bile away).
  9. You start listening to the playlist you made when your grandma visits because Elvis and Johnny Cash are the new Bing Crosby and Dean Martin.
  10. You wake up to your roommate’s burping moans from drinking too much seltzer in the morning. First thing you do is finish the seltzer you left for yourself on the bedside table.
  11. You call your insurance so they deal with the medical invoice you received from Cornell Health labs instead of handing the responsibility over to your parents.
  12. You have moved back from the stage at Slope Day because the music was too loud (or think you might, if we have one again).
  13. You leave voicemails.
  14. You carry around change and hand the cashier at Universal Deli the exact $8.24 for a bottle of Advil.
  15. You talk too much about your past glory days from freshman and sophomore year (how you got lost at your first on Halloween only to wind up in the Commons in a lemur onesie, or how you cut class to Uber to Friendly’s).

It’s reasons like these that we no longer feel the wind in our face in our chipper walks to campus, but instead feel awfully similar to Chevy Chase in Community. We’ve traded in pimples and beerbongs for creases on our cheeks and Werther’s Original butterscotch candies. Enjoy the ability to exercise without twenty minutes of stretching beforehand, or the blessing of a liver that can handle a thorough drunk Friday night, then waking up early Saturday for some day-drinking while it lasts. All good things must come to a harshly premature end.

AJ Stella is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected]. Stellin’ It Like It Is runs alternate Fridays this semester.