This semester, I vowed to do all of the things I planned to do before Yale happened — before classes, rehearsals and papers clouded my vision and looming deadlines screamed: You should use that time to read instead! “Jane Eyre” is a mighty long book, and you haven’t even gotten to the part with the person in the attic!
Conveniently, my declaration coincided with a myriad of e-mails regarding a Jonathan Edwards Master’s Tea called, “How to do what you love for a living.”
The following Monday, I arrived at 68 High St. at exactly 4:30 p.m., tape recorder in hand. When I tried to enter the house, the front door was locked.
I tried the side door. Also locked. I was confused; it had been a while since I’d been to a tea, but I doubted times had changed very much.
A master’s aide putting up posters next to the door assured me that the event was taking place. She had just seen people going inside the house — the operations manager and the dean had walked in the side door two minutes before I arrived.
I was still standing next to the side door when the dean’s wife approached the house with her daughter. She too tried to open the door without success.
We rang the doorbell. I cringed at the thought of interrupting the speaker. When my dean opened the door, I nodded in salutation and quickly walked past him into the house.
It was quiet. How sad! I thought. Had no one attended?
I crept into the living room to find my master, the operations manager and a student, each on his or her own separate couch.
No one in the room was drinking tea.
“Is there a Master’s Tea?” I stammered.
“A Master’s Tea?” my master replied, looking slightly concerned for me. “With whom?”
“… Carol … Carol Weston?”
“Carol Weston! Oh, that’s on Wednesday!”
I then did what any mildly bewildered student who had just sauntered into her master’s house, interrupting a meeting due to her inability to read signs and e-mails would do:
“Oh” I said. “I’m just so excited that I’m … two days early!” I added a fist pump for effect.
I don’t remember much of the exchange that followed, but I think my master quoted T.S. Eliot.
Afterward, I wandered the courtyard to walk off my metaphorical sheath of shame and recounted the series of events to a fellow classmate.
“That sounds like something a freshman would do,” he responded.
His comment had some truth to it. The realization of the impending finality of college life had instilled in me a newfound sense of excitement, akin to discovering experiences for the first time. I felt compelled to saturate every moment with productive activity, much like when I first arrived on campus.
This was not the second semester senioritis I experienced four years ago. It was quite the opposite. In fact, this “last-chance-itis,” as one might call it, was kind of like overly-eager-freshman-zeal, but with legalized drinking and three and a half years of sexual tension.
At the beginning of the semester, I promised myself I wouldn’t be “that person” who continually mentioned to those around me that “this could be the last …” I resolved to relish moments in a dignified, poignant and organized way.
Enter the second semester senior year bucket list. The embodiment of last-chance-itis in bullet-point form, the list is the culmination of seven semesters of shoulda-coulda-wouldas, what’s-the-worst-that-could-happens, why-the-heck-nots and just-because-I-cans.
Tonight (and the next 24), it’s heyo, Feb Club. How you doin? But more than that, it’s about food — because New Haven has good eats, and other places do not. It’s about roofs, stacks and the Women’s Table. It’s about asking out the guy in your yoga class because the awkwardness has an expiration date of four months, and taking advantage of dressing your age — for some, this might mean nothing but a hunting cap. For those of us not at 342 Elm last night, this could mean a sans-chocolate jaunt through the stacks come early May. At the very least, it means exploiting the ability to wear plaid in its various forms and weather-inappropriate shoes. It’s making a life-sized panoramic interactive children’s book on Yale’s dime, speaking at a Paskus Mellon Forum and climbing East Rock at midnight.
It’s about finding out “how to do what you love for a living,” barging into your master’s house not included.
Kristen Ng is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College.