As my namesake month comes to a close, the Class of 2018 has reached several milestones. While writing this “Dorm” column, I just kicked off my last full week of undergraduate classes, while accepting the fact that I have probably already had my last pasta toss bar experience at one of my favourite dining halls on campus. Soon enough, everything I have grown accustomed to will become a cherished memory.
Granted, I am staying in the world of academia, heading to graduate school to pursue an MPhil at Cambridge University. Nevertheless, as a nostalgic person at heart, I want to reflect on two of my routines at university.
The first is that I’m usually very tough on myself when it comes to writing; I’ve developed an interesting relationship with my academic papers. On the one hand, I love the process of writing and seeing the result of hours, days, and weeks’ worth of work. On the other hand, I experience intense frustration that makes me question what I have just written, or frantically search for another piece of evidence in the texts I am studying.
Even after I submit a paper, I still can’t help but go back to my writing to see if there are ways to refine my work. I feel as if I’m having dialogues with the authors I’m studying, many of whose true intension is hidden or unknown – when do I take the creative licence to make my own interpretations and theorise about their theories? It’s a multi-layered process that is often mind-boggling.
You may routinely see me running (not even speed-walking) in formal attire across campus. Someone commented recently that it was the first time they had seen me in casual clothing. While that is probably an exaggeration, I admit that by southern Californian standards, I appear in formal clothing far above the average student here. I love keeping myself busy, attending back-to-back college events, where mostly I have acted as the master of ceremony or interviewer for guest speakers. Running in high heels isn’t ideal, but in many ways has come to define who I am.
So here’s hoping everyone had a lovely April. Class of 2018, congratulations – we are almost there. I invite you to reflect on your own undergraduate journey and recount your fondest memories.