If you’re like me, how quickly finals are approaching has really caught you off guard. Just last week, you wrote the date down as January, then did a double take, because, wait, it’s May. If you’re like me, you then noticed that you’d accidentally written 2014 instead of 2019.
But, sadly, it is true. It is early May. Finals are in just a few days. They are sneaking up on us all, like those monsters from your nightmares as children. They are hidden beneath your lofted bed, snuggled beside your Pub-Safe-issued plastic food bin. Probably, you’d rather fight an actual monster than have to crank out that last Peace Studies paper, or to sit down for your Biochem exam.
We have had a weird year this year. We lost the homes we made in Stimson and Heubeck, said goodbye to our friend The Van, had to accept José’s eventual departure, and, if you’re like me, accepted that your major is going to die a soon, slow death. There were crimes, both on-campus and off, that knit this campus closer together. These things have happened in such rapid succession that you may have lost track of them each individually. Last May, the last time things felt so normal, feels like a distant memory now. How could you have known when you pulled onto Dulaney Valley Road, when you drove off campus for the last time of the semester, straight into summer, that you would be returning only to say goodbye to so many wonderful things?
And now we only have a few weeks left until another year is over. If you’re a senior, you’ll be living out your last few days on campus. You’ll be in the stir fry line, and it might be your last time in the stir fry line. You’ll be doing laundry, and it will be the last time you have to remember that every machine on campus is simultaneously broken, but you still won’t get your eSuds money back. These things will be weighty, and they might feel impossible. But you’ll make it out the other side after seeing Bill Nye, and realize it’s all over.
If you’re a freshman, you’ll go home and everything you did this year will feel fake. Seriously, it will. You’ve just begun something insane, and it might take a while for it all to sink in. Don’t worry, though, because Mary Fisher will still be here for you in August. There will be more laundry and stir fry for you. Assuming you come back.
If you’re anywhere in between, finals and move out feel like routine by now. You’ve done this before. It’s still a strange, sticky feeling, like time is molasses and you’re just trudging through it until you hit the finish line. You still have to do this whole cycle one or two more times, and the thought is exhausting. Who knows what will still be here next year, and who won’t. Who knows who will be here next year, and who won’t.
So grab a bowl of that really good tomato soup from the dining hall, or treat yourself to a green tea latte from Alice’s (if they’re not out of it). There’s only a little bit more to do. It might feel like there’s a marathon left of running before the semester is over, but, really, it’s only a handful of hours until you’re peeling your illegal Command strips off the walls and shoving everything you own into nondescript boxes.
Take a moment to enjoy yourself before finals begin, or to center yourself in the midst of the storm. We’re almost there.