I didn’t choose the SWUG Life; I just chose sweatpants.
Being the loyal Harvard Independent readers that you are, I’m sure that you remember the article I wrote last year about my transformation into a JWUG (junior washed up girl). Well, I have leveled-up (or perhaps fallen?) into SWUG-dom. I am a full-fledged, wine-glass-toting, sweatpants-wearing senior washed up girl. While this is the point in my college career where I can give the fewest number of f*cks, being a SWUG is not all Netflix and white zinfandel. Senior year is actually an emotional rollercoaster filled with last-firsts, thesising, and employment searching.
Every morning is a constant battle to leave the comfort of my bed and literal security blankets and stuff myself into real pants (read: any pants that aren’t sweatpants or leggings). I still question if it’s worth the effort given that if that cute guy from section freshman year didn’t notice me back then, then why bother now. But I digress.
As many other seniors will tell all you underclassmen, appreciate being young and irresponsible while you still can. I’ve definitely taken for granted the ability to have the “I can do that next year” mindset. I feel like I am trying to cram every event, concert, show, discussion, etc. into my senior year. I’m not quite ready to have my last this, my last that. On top of that, I can feel the Harvard Alumni Association practically counting down the days till commencement when they can count the Class of 2016’s wallets among the ones of classes past.
I know, that everyone makes senior year out to be one giant party. But, boy, is that false. Between closing out extracurricular club responsibilities, making the last two semester of college count for something, applying for jobs and fellowships, and writing a senior thesis, the only kind of party SWUGs still have in us are procrastination parties where we try to keep pace with Olivia Pope’s wine chugging. That’s not to say I haven’t had a couple of adventures so far (read: The Phoenix Landing in Central Square on Friday Nights). Hopefully after March 9, 2016, I’ll be able to rally a bit more.
As I mentioned earlier, SWUG-dom and the entire institution of senior year is an emotional rollercoaster. So much so, that I’ve pretty much been in a state of meh since the beginning of the year. Not only are you thinking about “doing Harvard right” before you leave, you are also thinking about the future and its overwhelming possibilities. On top of that, you are also thinking about where your friends from college and home will be. For me personally, it can be somewhat debilitating going through the motions of figuring out what I want to do and where I want to be. I berate myself with questions like which job will launch my career, am I ready to not live in America, etc.
Plastering on a smile for others as their lives are figured out as you are trying to sort through your own shambles can be tough, but you know your friends would do the same for you. Sometimes being a SWUG requires you to fill someone else’s glass with Moscato before you fill your own. (Though, you should strive to care for yourself in order to care for others!)
It can also be difficult navigating the different friendships and acquaintances you’ve made over the last three and a half years. You’ll want to plan all sorts of group outings and reunions, but there simply isn’t time. You’ll also start to notice that every “How’s your senior year going?” or “How are you?” begs a response beyond the generic “fine.” After all, this could be your last conversation with that person. And as a true SWUG, you gotta make sure that you leave people with good memory that’ll last until the 5th year reunion.
Hopefully this gives some insights into the SWUG-dom most will inevitably fall into. May this piece inspire some solidarity amongst us SWUGs and push us to keep carrying on. We’ve made it this far — just seven more months to go.
To all the SWUGs of Harvard, I just want us to remember that just because we are ‘washed up’ doesn’t mean that we are incapable of happy times and real pants. This process of becoming washed up is actually a chance for us to wipe our slates clean to start anew in our post-graduate adventures.
Shaquilla Harrigan’16 (firstname.lastname@example.org) hopes that everyone can get in touch with their inner SWUG. #SWUGsolidarity