How Senior Spring can feel like one giant April Fools’ Joke.
Oh, Indy readers, it has been a while since I last shared my latest first-world woes with you. I believe the last time was when I asked everyone to wallow in his or her inner SWUG. Well, I’m back again to share what I think is perhaps the great prank pulled on not only me, but many others in the Class of 2016 as well.
Around this time last year, I remember looking at my senior friends with envy. Those whom had already obtained employment and those who had recently handed in senior theses could look upon the last two months of school without a care. They no longer had to worry about schoolwork. It seemed as if all my senior friends did was party and sleep!
However, I have come to realize that the endless wine nights and reminiscing is all a sham. As a jobless second semester senior who only has her thesis defense and all the work eschewed for thesis writing to look forward to, I’m pretty much feeling like an April Fool. Especially when I consider how few of the goals I set forth last fall will be met by April 1st.
While I am mostly here to dismantle the myth of the most fun you’ll ever have in your life ever and the next 60 years are downhill Senior Spring, I will say that some of you underclassmen will have an awesome senior spring. You will have your sh*t mostly together to apply for jobs and fellowships. You also may not be writing a thesis (which professors and advisors keep telling me you non-writers will regret). To you all, I say be good to your peers who are thesising and job hunting.
Now on to my civic duty to reveal the hoax — before those of you whose futures look like my present fall prey to Senior Spring and become the April Fools of 2017 and beyond. To put it bluntly, senior year has been one of the hardest years at Harvard for me. There are so many changing factors in your life that you can feel like it is impossible to keep up.
One of the hardest things about senior year is the weight that rejection holds. Every rejection from a job prospect can make you feel like maybe you are not cut out for your dream career or that you are actually unqualified for any job. I remember painstakingly filling out an application for my top choice fellowship only to receive a jarring “no”. I sobbed for hours questioning what I would do next year, much less the summer after graduation.
However, with the support of friends, I picked myself up and started writing more personal essays and cover letters. It is not easy, but it is what you have to do. If I end up taking a job that I am not over-the-moon excited about, at least I will be able to trade my work units for dollar units until I find a job I truly enjoy.
Even rejections from Harvard extracurriculars carry a particular sting because there is no “I’ll just apply next year.” Though, the threat of rejection should not stop you from auditioning for activities you have not done before. Plus, there will be so many senior performances that you will get your time on stage.
Another aspect of senior year that dims the light of the illustrious myth that is Senior Spring is all of the changes you will notice as one suddenly becomes super reflective. You will especially think about freshman year and how much you and your friends have changed since then— how the people with whom you feel close have changed over the last four years.
You will think about all the crazy (read: questionable) things you did. I often wish freshman Shaquilla was not as insecure and afraid to do things. Constantly, I berate myself “Man, if I could go back I’d do XYZ, no worries!” Alas, I can only move forward.
Senior year raises so many questions and answers very few of them by April 1st. Questions of where I will live, what I will do, with whom I will stay in contact, what I want to get out of these last few weeks before Harvard kicks me out all float through my head. It is frustrating and wears on my patience as I claw for answers.
Despite my warning to you kids about the sham of senior spring, I am not able to offer much advice beyond telling you to surround yourself with the people who make you feel great, be patient, and keep trying. Senior spring can be a stressful time, but there are glimmers of true fun if you open yourself up to seeing them.
Shaquilla Harrigan ’16 (firstname.lastname@example.org) wishes the Indy were hiring.