This week has included a lot of last firsts: my last first day of school; my last first scramble of the semester to score a place in coveted seminars; my last first Woads.
These last firsts have found many of us oldies, more commonly known as the Class of 2015, jokingly nostalgic; we’re facetiously lachrymose over penny drinks that evoke memories, clouded by a Dubra-tinted haze, of all the questionable decisions we’ve made at Toad’s Place in the past 40 months. We’re bent double at the very thought of the silly things we used to care about as freshmen (and maybe secretly still care a little too much about now). We chuckle with the lofty wisdom of hindsight about that time that we thought we could be econ majors. Ah, to be young again!, we cry. But obviously we’re much smarter now.
Of course we cannot simply let ourselves fall into musing on our bright college years — there are practical matters of great urgency at hand. We must ensure that our final final exams (if we are so unfortunate as to have any) do not clash with precious Myrtle time, and one cannot forget the extensive strategizing that must go into planning our invites for Last Chance Dance, not to mention our drinking schedule for the remainder of the semester. It is essential that we attend every senior event and promise to be Feb Club All-Stars because OMG guys what if we never see each other again?!?
Yet behind our frivolity is what can only be described as a typhoon of conflicting emotions. When I imagine what lies ahead, the seemingly endless possibilities and paths to take — most of which (Hallelujah!) do not involve a letter grade —I’m genuinely overwhelmed.
20 years from now I could be a high-ranking officer in the Army, or running a modern speakeasy tucked away in the heart of a major city, or working on marine conservation in some gorgeous coastal town.
Or maybe I’ll be on Wall Street making the big bucks.
I can see glimpses of Maybe Future Allie living a million different lives, each with its potential ups and downs and gray areas, and I spend hours wondering which is the one I’m supposed to be living — but of course life doesn’t work like that. Who knows where I’ll be a few months from now? Forget years. I could be anywhere, and the thought of this utterly terrifies and excites me.
We, the senior class, stand on the very precipice of that Great Other: the world outside of Yale. This precipice requires that we actually plan for our futures, not just daydream while we should be paying attention in lecture – and holy crab cakes, is that scary.
But what if I make the wrong choice?
I ask myself this question at least once a day. Objectively I know that the end of college does not mean the end of all that is good and fun. I also know that Yale was and is not a perfect place, and that change is often a good thing. But as we stare over the edge, challenged to take that inevitable plunge into the abyss, it’s difficult to prevent the complete uncertainty of impending real life from fazing you.
I do, rather shockingly, have a plan for post-graduation life. It has changed more than a few times in the last years, but at least for now it would seem I’ve figured out my not-so-distant future. My friends often remark on how impressed they are with my sense of direction, how clearly I’ve set a path for myself, and oh how they wish they had the same commitment to their own futures! I nod and give them a small, knowing smile, sometimes saying: “Oh, I’m just lucky.” Little do they know that I’m navigating uncharted waters on a rickety dingy with naught but a shot glass for a compass.
Nevertheless, much like Captain Jack Sparrow, I hold onto the belief that I will end up where I am supposed to be, even if the path is more winding than expected and my destination (or destinations, as the case more likely will be) is not perhaps where I intended to go.
For now, I plan to enjoy the second semester of my senior year. I’m making time with friends to — as my former Dean and forever idol John Loge liked to say —“really figure stuff out,” to bring some closure to our late-night dorm-room conversations. I’m making time to finally do those things that I’d put off either for fear or inertia. And most importantly, I’m making time to get my weekly groove on at everyone’s favorite amphibian dance club.
So on that note, see you at Penny Drinks every Wednesday ‘til May 18th!