New Beginnings

It’s Fall 2016 and I’m officially back at WashU to start the new year. I’m a senior now so I basically know the in’s and out’s of the campus and its workings, right?

Absolutely not. If anything, being away from WashU for basically 9 months has made me less sure than I used to be. My first week was a cringe-worthy montage of amateur-hour mistakes that might have been acceptable from a freshman but are embarrassing for a senior.

But there are some upsides to seeing the campus with fresh eyes. I don’t know whether it’s a product of my time in Prague or the fact that this is my last year, but this semester is quickly turning out to be the year of new beginnings.

For one thing, I’m taking new classes that I have no background in and hadn’t considered taking before. For example, I signed up for three writing classes – Exposition, Fiction Writing 1, and Poetry Writing 1 – and I don’t even care that I’m usually the oldest person in the room. I’ve always loved writing, so I just decided that I was going to pursue it for this semester and now I’m learning new techniques of analysis and reading new authors and poets that I had never heard of before. The same is true of Law, Politics, and Society – a political science class I’m taking – except I never knew that I loved it until I was in the class! How the law differs from its application in the real world has always fascinated me and now I have time to learn more about that side interest of mine.

As a result of these new interests, I’ve attended events on campus that I didn’t even know were happening when I was an underclassman. I’ve gone to multiple poetry readings, both on and off-campus, and I’m planning on attending more in the future. I want to keep exposing myself to new and differing experiences even when its not a class requirement.

Another new experience I’ve had was submitting my work in the Campus MovieFest. The idea behind this competition is that students have a week to shoot, edit, and produce a short film – no more than 5 minutes at the most – which they can then submit to win prizes and awards. If you win a Jury Award, you win a series of prizes including a year membership to the Adobe Creative Suite, a clapboard, a place for your movie on the Campus MovieFest website, and discounted all-access badges to Terminus, a film and gaming convention in Atlanta.

I decided to do it because I had literally nothing to lose and everything to gain, and because I had just completed a 2 hour documentary for my family’s church over the summer – more on that in a later post. But I ended up winning an award for Best Performance and a Jury Award for Best Editing, which means that my film will go on to compete nationally! It’s an experience that I never would have had if I had just walked past the CMF booth like I had been tempted to. So I whole-heartedly encourage other students to just take that chance, even if it seems like a lot of work and especially if you have nothing to lose. You never know what could happen.

So this is a year of new beginnings for me. Pretty late in the game considering this is my last year, but a lot of seniors end up trying out new things as they wait for required classes to be available or – if they’ve gotten all of their credits already – waste time until graduation comes.

But what I want to say is this: there’s no such thing as too late. That’s extremely cliche, but it’s also a staple of the senior lifestyle. This is our last chance to finish our bucket list and we have to make every moment count so that we can look back on our college career with nostalgia instead of longing. But this isn’t just limited to seniors. I think that every grade could benefit from the senior mindset, at least in this aspect. Only freshmen and seniors really seem to let their freak flag fly when it comes to new classes, new clubs, new sports, and new passions, so if you’re a sophomore or a junior attack the year with gusto.

Carpe Diem and all that.