251 days. 14 hours. 39 minutes. 45 seconds. That’s how long I get to call all of you my peers.
A lifetime. That’s how long I can call all of you my friends.
I’m writing this to my class, the Class of 2018, because I think that there’s a serious problem we need to address. Everyone’s so wound up about college, and we’re slowly forgetting to take time for the smallest joys in our lives. So please – I know that you’re reading this article as a “5-minute break” before you go off to write your college essays/attend 7 executive club board meetings/meet with your CAC/eat a sad nutrition-less meal while you google scholarships – but please just give me the full 5 minutes.
I care about you all. More than I care about college. (And trust me, I care about college a lot). But, we, as a class, need to go back to the simpler things because we’re all so stressed 24/7. I have asked around and gotten valuable advice from 50 alumni of the Class of 2017 (including some that I never talked to – never underestimate an IMSA bond), and they are beautiful people who didn’t mind taking out a decent chunk of their time to respond to my text. Many of you saw the Back to School Edition where some of the highlights were included, but you can get every single piece of advice I received here.
Essentially, I got two responses:
- Don’t waste your time here. It’s precious.
- That being said, make sure to still stay on top of your college application process.
(Of course, they were a lot more articulate and specific, but I know that your “5-minute” break can only stretch out for so long.)
And my primary conclusion from reading all of their long responses? We should all spend time doing the stuff that we like – whatever that is. This could be going on walk ‘n’ talks, participating in culture shows, competing in League tournaments, or pouring your heart and soul into your extracurriculars. The possibilities are endless. We have 251 days left before we move out of campus, 251 days left of living together. After 251 days we’re done, and if even on Day 252 we decide that we all want to live together again and recreate the conditions that we had, we can’t.
Sure, you might say, we can come back. But when will all 195 of us be together again – playing ultimate frisbee on Yare, going on long walks on Access Road, dancing in the student union, napping past rolling check? Maybe our reunion in 11 years. I don’t want to wait that long for us to live a little together.
I’d also advocate for talking to one more person each day. It doesn’t have to be a completely new person you’ve never spoken to before, but perhaps that person who sat across from you in SI Physics that you never really got to know, or the person that you’ve had a friend-crush on for as long as you can remember? Just one new person, that’s all I ask.
I did it. I was sitting with a friend in Sodexo, and a simple conversation about our days sparked the idea of going in a Homecoming group with our friends. It was pretty straight-forward: we would both bring 5 friends, each. Then the number continued to grow, and I’m honestly so glad that it did. I was a little frustrated in the beginning because 1) trust me, this was the definition of awkward, and 2) it seemed like there were only 2 of us talking in the group chat.
But now, for our nicknames, we’ve ended up flipping the first letters of our actual first and last names. The group chat is also titled “the day before uiuc apps are due.” And I was scared to just go for it, talking to new people, but now that I have, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for an IMSA Homecoming. Point is, you’ll be surprised how much of a positive difference a small amount of effort can make, so make sure you give everything a shot.
So, Class of 2018, while we may still feel like the new sophomores (no SSS yet!), it’s time to accept the fact that we are the seniors. We will be the ones to win the Homecoming Pep Rally – statistically, and hopefully. We will be the ones to go to prom. We will be the ones saying “See you later” to each other on June 2 at 2:00 pm. Please, make the most of your time here. You will never be with all these people again in the same atmosphere of stress IMSA provides. Make up with people from petty grudges. Try new clubs and hobbies. Take the classes that actually intrigue you. Say “hi” to everyone you see. These small things could truly make the difference in your senior year.
Think of all of the stressed IMSA seniors before us. They all got in somewhere and are on their way to doing big things, and now it’s your turn. I believe in you, Class of 2018.