Senior Class Reflections

Casey Sautter & James Antony

The very first day that I stepped foot on Lawrence’s campus was during one of the Fall Visit Days in my senior year of high school. Within the first few minutes, I met an incredibly beautiful, pole vaulting, fellow prospective student, and proceeded to spend the remainder of my time on campus that day with him. A few months later when I decided to attend Lawrence, I absolutely begged my mother to drive with me back to Appleton to see where I would be attending college, since all I could remember of my visit was that beautiful pole vaulter.
Embarrassing stories aside, the route each of us has taken to get to Appleton may be different, but the common characteristics between Lawrence students is what I personally have come to appreciate the most.
We are a passionately curious bunch with a propensity for finding ourselves in incommodious situations. Appropriate examples include: slipping and falling on someone else’s spilled food – aka a “Downer double-header” – a certain professor seeing your backside because you realized your swimsuit was see-through a bit too late, dealing with shower peepers and other creepers and any interaction with Lawrence security. Nothing seems to be able to hold us back.
Although Lawrence is often mistaken for other similarly named universities, the environment and experiences we share at this institution are unrivaled. Where else can you face a beautiful, albeit toxic, river and turn around to find downtown Appleton, our own grown-up playground, within walking distance?
Not to mention the university itself, a place to learn and call home. From musical and theatrical performances to sporting events to intellectual discussions to volunteer opportunities, I will miss the breadth of interests, the absolutely impressive talent and the life of quiet academic desperation – if you catch the reference, it is time to graduate.
Somewhere in between our first days of trying to find our dorm and our final day when we walk across the stage, each Lawrentian – which does not include the beautiful pole vaulter, because he did not end up attending Lawrence – will have completed an incredible journey and shared moments along the way.I am honored to have been asked by The Lawrentian editors to write about my past four years at Lawrence, both through specific memories and general aspects of the campus. I will first look no further than this past weekend.
The highlights include a number of fabulous student recitals, a brilliant Mˆlée performance, a wonderful walk around Appleton – minus those river bugs … I want a flamethrower. – an all-nighter followed by breakfast at 6 a.m. on College Avenue just in time to reach sobriety, a conversation with someone for the first time since freshman year and immeasurable hours of dancing like an idiot.
There are some common themes here that I believe represent the past four years: working hard, playing hard, enjoying the company of students from diverse social groups, being humbled by nearly every performance I see here, singing songs from the 1990s and loving them more than when they came out – “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” – building and revisiting relationships and learning that people can not only be cool AND talented or cool AND smart, but that these things seem to happen with extraordinary frequency at this school.
I believe these common themes were made possible by the incredible sense of community that pervades this campus. When we first arrived as freshmen, no matter how boring or eccentric we were, older students accepted us and enjoyed our company.
Later, we assumed these leadership roles and found we had become transformed, that we had learned to connect with people in more meaningful ways and, similarly, embraced the wide diversity of students that entered this university, although I’ll admit some embrace diversity more than others. This gave us confidence that we would be accepted as individuals and, in turn, allowed us to express ourselves comfortably and creatively.
More concretely, this led to our scurrying around campus trying to catch poor bunnies, performing Rocky montages for a Trivia action question and vying for a chance to marry the most charming Tanzanian man alive.
This past weekend only lacked one typical Lawrence theme – a strong dose of studying and writing papers. I cannot say this was greatly missed or that these activities produced many of my greatest memories. But one thing I will miss is the buoyant, non-elitist curiosity instilled in the student body.
I truly feel I can talk with other students about my love for this or that nerdy thing without either being considered un-cool or unsophisticated enough. The banality of studying aside, this comfort in our nerdiness has led to numerous hilarious results worthy of remembering. After all, how many students across the country can say they danced crazily to Rage Against the Machine at a “Philosophy Party”?
I’m going to miss this place.