Coming out of your senior year, you think you’re all grown up, so mature.
Invincible, in a way.
Hate to break it to you, but you’re none of the three. Seniors in college are just as much older than you as they were when you were a freshman in high school and they were seniors there.
The age range may be the same, but your innate fear of them will be greatly reduced. The seniors (and juniors, now that they’re back from study abroad!) aren’t going to look down on you simply because of the age difference. They’re real people, believe it or not. Getting to know some of the upperclassmen on campus has been an amazing experience throughout the year. I came into college with no idea what to expect. Hearing about their experiences has helped me plan my next three years here.
They may be inclusive, but that doesn’t make having a class with them any less intimidating. I’m currently taking Analytical Chemistry with Dr. Jennifer Furchak, a required class for chemistry majors. Most people take it as upperclassmen, but there are a coveted four places in the class reserved for First-Year students each spring quarter. Actually, it’s mostly upperclassmen because First-Years can’t get in because the upperclassmen register for classes first. And then, they need to take it as upperclassmen, because they couldn’t get in as First-Years. A vicious cycle.
My fellow three First-Years and I are in the class with about thirty upperclassmen, all of who have taken at least the organic chemistry classes. These are reportedly some of the hardest at the College. (I’m trying to convince myself to be excited to take it next year. It’s another requirement for the chemistry major.) The seniors have already completed their SIPs; the juniors are anxiously planning their own; the sophomores celebrate their recent completion of organic chemistry and anticipate study abroad. My lab partner was actually my TA last quarter in my Chemical Reactivity lab. It feels like they’re all on a completely level. But they don’t seem to see it like that, which is amazing. We’re all learning the same materials, doing the same experiments in lab.
The labs for the class are incredible. We’re testing the contaminants in water samples from the Lillian Anderson Arboretum. The lab reports are slightly less incredible, but so rewarding when they’re done. We write full lab reports, in the style of the journal Analytical Chemistry. The work we’re doing actually feels important; it makes me so excited to continue in chemistry as a career.
Also, we need to read actual Analytical Chemistry articles before writing each report. I feel so cool as a read it from such a huge book. Nerd life is the best life.