by Elizabeth Jordan, Class of 2010
Chocolate syrup. Somehow these two words have found themselves wedged into almost every aspect of my time here at Vassar. Chocolate syrup reminds me of the first time I e-mailed my freshman year roommate, who loves chocolate syrup. I hate chocolate syrup, and this is just one example of the many ways in which we are total opposites but soul mates all the same. My time at Vassar never would have been the same without her.
Chocolate syrup reminds me ever so lovingly of the hours I spent “frying like bacon,” singing as loudly as I could, and getting syrup, amongst many other condiments thrown at me by seniors whom I revered as gods at the time. The bonds that come from dancing and singing with a group of 18-year-olds who have never lived on their own cannot easily be broken. Still today I pass my fellow Lathropians and give a nod or a smile, recognizing that only a select group of us could really know what it’s like to hold your “L’s up” for about eight hours on a 90-degree day in September, scared to death but smiling and laughing all the same. Chocolate syrup is what we allegedly washed off in the Main House bathrooms after serenading freshman year, after getting a heart breaking second place when really, we deserved first.
Chocolate syrup reminds me of every dinner I ate at All Campus Dining Center during my freshmen and sophomore years with the same core group of people with whom I still eat almost every meal. It reminds me of the fact that I probably ate things that involved chocolate syrup, again, which I hate, out of pure desperation and the desire for that feeling of full you get when you eat something you actually enjoyed.
Chocolate syrup reminds me of going abroad for three and half months. Living in a foreign country made me miss things I knew I hated, but that still reminded me of home. Chocolate syrup, McDonald’s, coffee, refrigerated eggs and chicken fingers-all things you never cared about or noticed until you’re eating pieces of ham, lukewarm hard boiled eggs and Nescafe for breakfast every morning at random hotels throughout the Mediterranean.
The stickiness of chocolate syrup reminds me of the various degrees of disgust I found myself feeling while surveying my living room second semester junior year on almost every Sunday morning, being responsible for keeping my house clean for the very first time, and questioning exactly how at the party the night before someone had managed to get that all the way up there.
Chocolate syrup was a key ingredient in my “water” gun first semester senior year when I finally got to be the cool kid and cheered on the Lathrop freshmen while also soaking them with the “water” in my gun, jug and carafe that I grabbed after finally deciding that a “water only” serenading could in fact be fun and filled with more than water.
Chocolate syrup reminds me of the initial awkwardness and then the following understanding that comes from five girls with very different taste having to figure out how to divide the fridge, buy groceries together and separately and combine our efforts to create a clean, functional kitchen.
In all, chocolate syrup has been a surprisingly large part of my time at Vassar. But so have a lot of other things. I can’t imagine life without my freshmen year roommate, who never fails to drive me crazy. She will go on to do bigger things than she could ever realize, and watching that process takes my breath away. My friends from Lathrop, whom I’ve been lucky enough to keep since freshman year, have been my support system through everything I’ve done and gone through at Vassar. They have touched my life in ways I will never remember, and in ways I’m scared to hope for again. The boys next door have made me laugh, cry and learn how to fight back. The unexpected connection I have with them is something I will keep close to my heart for a long time. All these people and events, along with chocolate syrup, have shaped my time here at Vassar and have made it into this intangible feeling that I am grasping onto for dear life. I’m ready to move on, but hopefully I’ll have a little chocolate syrup in my future to bring me back to a place where I can honestly say I became who I want to be, to a place I will never forget.