by Joey Army, Class of 2010
Being done with your final set of finals is a wonderful thing. With my work finished I have been able to take my last few days at Vassar at my own pace, sleeping in until ten thirty, playing video games, going to the gym and then having a late afternoon tennis match. I had just been commenting to one of my housemates about how wonderful this was, that being at Vassar without any work to do was freeing and relaxing, but I should have known that telling someone would jinx it. Within five minutes of these remarks to my housemate, I was approached by the The Miscellany News, which asked me to write a senior retrospective, and it only had to be 800 words. My first thought was, “800 words!! Hell no, honey! I am not writing ever again!” My second thought, “You clearly have never spoken to any of my professors or you would know that I am NOT the right person to ask to write anything!” My third thought, “Could be fun…question mark?”
Needless to say, I accepted the offer. However, I hadn’t walked ten feet from Contributing Editor Miss Teeters before I started stressing. It’s not that I don’t have plenty to say about Vassar and everything it has given to me personally but that’s just boring! Nobody cares about reading that! I could write about the many high school-esque dramas which I have experienced, and while that may be more enticing to a reader I was not sure I wanted to expose so many tawdry details of my life. I struggled with trying to pinpoint the discussion I wanted to raise through this retrospective. What was my thesis going to be? Do I have an argument? Is it cohesive? It was about the point when I started outlining what I wanted to say that I realized that Vassar may have influenced me too much. So I chose instead to “screw it!” No argument, no point, no organization and no mind for who is reading. This is my retrospective, and it might as well have my rambling, unfocused and manic voice!
Having just done a word count I see that I am already succeeding at establishing myself as a rambler! I have written over three hundred words and said nothing! Point for me!
Although the gifts and changes Vassar have given me go far deeper a simple superficial look at my first and last days at college paint a vivid enough picture. Snapshot: I arrived at Vassar a starry eyed 18-year-old boy who could not break out of the boarding school fashion. I was obsessed with theater, had too much ambition, too competitive and was determined to make a name for myself. I spent my year wearing polo shirts with popped collars trying to convince myself and the rest of Vassar that I was straight. I was a first class know it all who had so much hope. Snapshot: I am graduating in a week. I am 22 and still starry eyed. I am obsessed with dance and theater and truly understand how lacking my knowledge of both is. I want to learn everything I can and am always hungry for more. I am celebrating my one year anniversary with my boyfriend in two weeks. I would not argue if someone told me I was a pompous arrogant human being, but I would say that I know my own shortcomings now. I can see my lack of experience, and although I still have hope, I am filled much more with fear and anxiety.
In case the changes between these two pictures were not clear enough here is a run down. One, I came out of the closet. Hurray for me! I now own more glitter, heels and Disney princess paraphernalia than is probably healthy. Two, I was introduced to my deep passion for dance, an art form I had never taken part in before college other than basic choreography for musicals in high school. Three, I have realized how college is a secure bubble. I have been taught that I am not an adult yet, and even after graduation, I will still be studying how to become one. Breaking down the changes in this way they don’t seem like much, and yet I found myself breaking down into tears with every professor I said goodbye to, with every last class I took, even when I handed in my last official assignment. My boyfriend tried to comfort me through the worst of these episodes, after I had said goodbye to one of my ballet professors, and he told me that I can always come back to visit and that although it will be different, Vassar will still always be my school. I explained to him that it’s so much more than just my school. I found myself at Vassar. It has shaped me and molded me into who I am. Inherently Vassar is a part of me and although college was not without its hardships I personally owe a debt to this school. One I am not sure I am ever going to be able to repay.
Okay, so maybe rambling along was not my best idea because not only have I babbled past my word limit I wrote the sappy college admissions essay I was trying to avoid. So I am going to attempt to make my summary brief to make up for this. Vassar, I will miss you and, by the way, I owe you.