Mark Chung

It just recently dawned on me… okay, that actually sounds too beautiful, like a seaside sunrise in Cape Cod on a calm August morning. I’ve never been to Cape Cod, so I don’t actually know what this looks like, but I can only imagine it’s surreal. 

So, let me rephrase. It just recently struck me like a torrential New Haven downpour that I have one week left of classes this semester followed by reading week and finals. Then, my first year of college is over! This realization has caused me to spiral into a state of incredulity. If this time of my life were a Taylor Swift Era, it would be my “Disbelief Era,” and the album’s hits would be “Where Did the Time Go?” and “Growing Up.” This album, like myself, will sound like a broken record because I still can’t get over the fact that I am closer to being a sophomore in college than a senior in high school. 

Even though I am nearing my last final — my final final of the year — on May 6, I have to incessantly remind myself, like an annoying fly that won’t leave me alone, that freshman year is not over yet! There is still some time left, so I’m going to cherish it like that beautiful, fleeting Cape Cod sunrise.

Now, before I dive deeper into this essay, I just want to remind everyone that I’m not a graduating senior, so I’m making this sound a little more sentimental than necessary. Nevertheless, it is sentimental to me because I will no longer be the baby on campus, and, more importantly, I can’t get away with the excuse, “I’m just a first-year! I have no clue what I’m doing!” Because at this point, I really should know what I’m doing. Plus, I won’t be on campus or in New Haven for three months, so I need to treasure all of the things I love before leaving. 

For starters, I want to relish this campus’s beauty for as long as possible. And I don’t just mean the stunning architecture. While walking around campus and enjoying the beautiful buildings is a pleasure I often take for granted (especially walking down Hillhouse Avenue on the way back from my econ lecture), there’s so much more to this campus than what meets the eye. Have you ever noticed the way that the sunlight filters in through the dining hall windows early in the morning? Have you admired the yellow daffodils in the Vandy courtyard or the tulips outside Branford’s dining hall? The epitome of happiness, I firmly believe, can be found in these hidden pockets of campus beauty that are too often overlooked. 

On the other hand, something you most definitely can’t overlook is the liveliness of campus at this point in the year. Yes, many of us are bogged down with final assignments and assessments, but campus seems to be buzzing with energy and excitement in these final weeks. It undoubtedly has to do with the weather, because Cross Campus and Beinecke Plaza seem to be filled with this exuberant, sunny spirit that’s permeating through the air. I’ve been trying to channel that spirit into my work, but any time I attempt to “do work” in either of these locations, I find myself in the library later that night actually finishing the assignments that were meant to be completed earlier. But that’s okay because back at home, I won’t be able to experience the same type of energy that emanates from these crowds.

Speaking of energy and crowds, who else is excited for Spring Fling? I’ll be honest, this is the event that I have been most looking forward to since Spring Break, serving as my motivation to make it through the rest of the semester. It’s starred and circled and stands out on my calendar in every possible way that it can. And now, it’s on the horizon. The music, the vibes, the fun — what’s not to look forward to?

Last but not least, what I really want to get out of these last few weeks is spending time with the people here. I may not see many of them until next fall, which makes these final weeks bittersweet. So, here’s to more spontaneous trips to Ashley’s, walks around campus, late-night GHeav runs, early morning breakfasts, sushi dinners and Old Campus strolls with all of the people that make this place and these experiences so special. 

After taking the time to contemplate, I think I’m going to retitle this era. From now on, if you see me around campus, just know that I’m in my “Sponge Era” because I will be soaking up every minute of it!