Senior Class Reflection: Save the analysis for later

Grace Berchem

(Photo courtesy of Grace Berchem)

My college experience is one that, as of right now, lacks a conclusion. Maybe it’s because I’m an English major, and at this point I have spent many sleepless nights trying to come up with the perfect conclusion for that last minute paper. Or maybe it’s because as a writing tutor, I’ve pressed countless students on questions like, “What’s the significance?,” “Why should the reader care?” or, to put it more bluntly, “So what?”

In any case, I’m really asking the same thing; it all comes down to questioning the conclusion. There’s just something unsettling about it. So I suppose now I’m asking exactly that same question of myself.

I don’t just mean that in the sense that we are still five and a half months out from graduation and there are a lot of memories still to be made. I mean that in the sense that as I look back on my time at Lawrence, I still don’t know what to make of it all. I have chalked some pretty great memories as well as some I’d rather not remember at all. I know it’s a significant time, but it remains to be seen what exactly that significance is.

For example, I remember eating at the Grill and the days before the Warch Campus Center. And it is with sadness that I realize I am part of the last graduating class that can say both of those things. It’s another reminder that change is inevitable, which is perhaps the most important lesson any of us will ever learn. As if we really need the reminder though as we’re about to enter a world that’s quickly changing everyday and where nothing is certain — a world that seems very far removed from our safe little bubble.

I remember wondering time and time again if I picked the right college or if I wouldn’t just be better off transferring. I couldn’t remember what ever made me decide to pick Lawrence in the first place. And then there was the doubt about my major. What can a person ever really do with an English major?

Somehow, these thoughts seemed particularly pressing on those long nights spent working on seemingly endless papers. Fortunately, the answers to those questions and more always came quickly thanks to a number of absolutely inspiring professors; their dedication to the Lawrence community is contagious.

And then there was the one decision I’ve never questioned: my decision to join a sorority. Becoming a Kappa meant finally finding my home on campus. Lawrence students are busy, and, sometimes in the hustle and bustle it can be hard to find someone to count on amongst even the best-intentioned friends. But the girls in Kappa are more than my friends; they are my sisters and my family. I hope that’s a closeness everyone gets the chance to experience while at Lawrence, whether it’s as part of a club, sports team or any other sort of a group.

Of course, I could never talk about my Lawrence experience without mentioning my term abroad at the London Centre. After all, pardon the cliché, but it was life changing, so that probably qualifies it for at least a mention. I learned so much, but more importantly, realized I have so much left to learn if I really want to understand my world. As much as I hate giving unsolicited advice, I’m willing to make an exception in this case. Everyone who has the opportunity to go abroad should take it. I may have learned more about myself than I bargained for over the course of those three months, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

And that’s only the beginning of the stories I could tell. So years from now, when I look back, what will I take away? After I leave here, where will life take me? How will all of these memories change in my mind when I look back with new insight and perspective? As of right now, I think I’ll just have to be okay with college being a series of jumbled up memories, thoughts and ideas free floating in master’s thesis limbo. After all, it’s still being written; I can save the analysis for later.