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En Route #17


Spring Has Sprung

Hello and welcome back! Who knew 4 weeks could feel so short and yet so long? After a truly wonderful holiday spent with family and friends, I hopped back across the Atlantic, friend in tow, to spend the rest of our break abroad. We started in Dublin then made our way to Edinburgh and finally ended in the countryside of England (pictured). It was the first time traveling without adult supervision, though I suppose we are the adults now, and while there were certainly some unforeseen challenges (read: transport strikes apparently happen in England too) almost everything went according to plan. In two and a half weeks we wandered through an Irish forest, held a baby lamb, drank real whiskey (then promptly asked for a glass of water), and ate plenty of fish and chips. I got no more than 5 hours of sleep in total and loved every minute, but by the time we landed back in Paris and I’d sent my friend off to the airport, I was ready to welcome the new semester.

Ah, Spring semester, how we’ve missed you. While Fall semester suffers from a downward curve as we gradually sink into winter, Spring semester is something of a renaissance as we emerge from the cold and start to remember what being warm feels like. Though temperatures have stayed relatively the same since classes have started, students seem to have an extra spring in their step, rejuvenated from break and ready for the new term. This first week of classes has reminded me just how exciting the first day of school can be. We come to greet the semester with new pencils, peers, and professors, eager to enjoy this last pit-stop before summer break, or for us seniors, Graduation.

You can easily tell the difference between the seniors and other students just by the look in their eyes when you ask them what their summer plans are. Most will cheerfully report they’ll be spending the break at home, relaxing by the pool, or working a part-time job, but if you watch carefully you’ll see the fear in our eyes, as seniors will quietly tell you every 20-something’s favorite phrase, “I don’t know.” Something different awaits us at the end of this term, and as of right now, (apart from a cap and gown and maybe some confetti) it’s all just a big question mark. I don’t often like to harp on the conundrum that is being a 2nd semester senior, but it does seem unavoidable now. To be completely honest, I really don’t know what my life will look like in 6 months, but I’m trying to enjoy it.

Besides the ongoing existential crisis that is being a 2nd semester senior, the first week back has been relatively relaxed, routine even. We’re at the point where we can sink into our familiar rhythms and for the most part, just enjoy getting back to reality. Even though it’s only been a handful of days, winter break already feels like a dream I’ve woken up from. Now I will ask you to envy me at least a little while I tell you about my delight of a class schedule. By some stroke of luck or karmic fate, four of my five classes are spread between Monday and Tuesday, which leaves me something of a double weekend only interrupted by a class on Friday morning. I think it’s actually a fairly neat way to divide my otherwise behemoth of a weekend, and will hopefully save me from sinking too deeply into vacation mode during these free days.

Nevertheless it’s hard to not be a little giddy at the thought of some extra breathing space, my peers and I were feeling all 21 of our years by the end of last semester so here’s hoping this one is a little lighter. It’s still going to be an adjustment, and I’d encourage anyone who has a similar set up to not let themselves give into procrastination just yet. We may have a bit more time this semester, but as our professors were quick to remind us on Monday, it goes faster than you think. This time around we’re a little older and hopefully a good bit wiser, we know what’s ahead, even if we’re not quite sure what comes after it. Our professors are already doing their best to advise us on how to go about this period of relative uncertainty, which is only too welcome to a room of slightly anxious students.

Still, it always helps to have a bit of humor, else things can start to look a bit sinister in the cloudy grey of January. As we were packing up at the end of Senior Thesis, a class that encourages us to consider our future career plans, my professor asked if we all knew what we were doing. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling and saying, “for next class, absolutely; for the rest of our lives, not so much.” I think that pretty much sums up the current state for seniors at the moment. As for the here and now, I’ll be spending my weekend in quiet contemplation as I gear up for the new semester and get an idea of what I want it to look like. As I told my friend on the first day back: This one’s for all the marbles. Let’s have some fun.

Happy Spring!

f t p