It’s the Final Countdown! (Though I actually really hate that song)

Final Countdown: I will not allow myself to graduate from Whitman without _____________.

Looking at that blank space up there, I’m struck by several things. Among them: bewilderment that I’ll be graduating in the spring (where did all of the time go?!); a touch of sadness that my time here is coming to an end; and finally, a supreme sense of satisfaction that I have done so much while here, and that the possible list of things to fill that blank are really so small.

Put differently, while it at times feels like my time at Whitman has been little more than a blur, time flashing by with hour following inevitable hour, I never feel as though that time has been spent in idleness or pursuit of some unsatisfactory goals. As I look back at the years I’ve spent here, I’m struck, not by a longing to accomplish something that I’ve yet to do, but amazement at the things that I have done, the people I’ve met, and the ways in which I have grown from a scared and uncertain Freshman to the scared and uncertain Senior I am today (really all that changes is that you get better at going with the flow).

Some of the things that strike me as important to my Whitman experience, most of which are in no particular order – See the men’s swim team go from being at an uncertain third place in the Conference rankings to (possibly) #1 this year, with an undefeated season; met a ton of new people, many of whom have become extremely close friends; challenged myself in classes that I never would have expected to take; garnered a scholarship to go to Germany for the summer and learn the language better (I’m minoring in German, having come to Whitman with zero experience with the language, and zero intention of studying it!); given many meaningful tours to visiting students and their families, hopefully impacting their college search for the better; started playing Dungeons and Dragons, and in doing so made an extremely close group of friends; similarly, accepted my nerdy side, and really started finding out exactly who I am and what I want out of life (answer: to be happy, no matter what form that happiness takes); landed this internship in the Whitman College Office of Admission, and realized that what I want to do after Whitman isn’t go to law school, but continue working in this amazing and meaningful field; learned more about so many different things than I ever would have thought possible, including Science, which is crazy, because I’m absolutely terrible at Science. The list goes on and on, and every time I think of what I’ve accomplished, the things I’ve done, I feel extremely satisfied – looking back at it all now, I know I made the right choice in coming here.

So, while there are still a few things I would love to have happen before I leave (getting distinction on my rapidly approaching Oral Exams being one of them), I can’t help but realize that the list of things that I still want to do is incredibly shorter than the list of things that I have experienced and done.

For everyone reading this, I can only hope that when you reach the end of your college experience you feel the same way I do. Happy, content, and probably just a little freaked out that OH MY GOD I HAVE TO GO BE A REAL PERSON NOW?!

Until then, may your days be meaningful, and your time spent in the pursuit of whatever definition of happiness you find most appealing.

Best,

– Kevin

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