Wednesday, February 5, 2014, marked the halfway point, halfway through the quarter, and halfway through my first year at Kalamazoo College. Things are starting to change around campus, seniors are finishing their SIPS, juniors are arriving back from study abroad, and sophomores just declared majors. All of these events are huge accomplishments, and I want to take a few minutes to celebrate each of them.
Walking around campus, it’s pretty easy to pick out the seniors. To be honest, I think they dress the nicest. They have nice jackets. I think it’s some sort of conspiracy, like when you finish your SIP, the administration just gives you like the world’s nicest peacoat. This may be a figment of my overactive imagination. But seniors tend to look a little more worried than the rest of us, like something is always looming on their horizons. And to be fair, there is. The Senior Individualized Project is a huge part of the K-Plan and every K student’s senior year. Now that some seniors have completed their SIPs, or are on the verge of completing their SIPs, we see a shift in the way they walk around campus. I would even go so far as to say they have a bit of a swagger to their walk, in a good way. They seem proud, like they have been through a battle, and they won. It’s inspiring, knowing that I’ll be in their shoes in three short years.
The juniors are different, since the first years can’t really identify them. I have a pretty bad habit of assuming that every person I haven’t met must be a junior just getting back from study abroad. I think the more reasonable explanation is I’m not social enough. That being said, a great part of the K community is the constant changes we see to the student body. People are coming and going, headed to study away next quarter, or a junior is coming back from a three-month study abroad program. There’s always a new face on campus, someone that you haven’t had a chance to meet yet. For me, there’s a level of anticipation for the juniors (who went on a six-month program) to come back to K. I’m excited to see how the dynamic of the College shifts, and to see if I notice a significant difference around campus (gosh, those stairwells could get so busy…).
Finally, the sophomores. The class of 2016 declared their majors this Tuesday, celebrating with cake and stickers that let the rest of us know what their passion in life is. Some majors even got shirts, which I’m pretty jealous of. There was a confidence in the air, when they all came to lunch. I felt the excitement in the air, like they glanced into their futures for a moment, and they were happy with what they saw.
With all these huge life moments, from declaring a major to completing the biggest assignment that exists at Kalamazoo College, I can’t help but to notice that first years are left out. But the exciting thing is, I know we get to experience all of these events during our time at K. Soon enough, I’ll be turning in a completed SIP, wearing the perfect peacoat, and walking past the class of 2020 (um, wow) with the air of confidence that I look up to right now.