Bailey McKeon ’22
Pretend you’re walking across campus, perhaps to class, the library, or Mather, and you spot someone from your class last semester. Do they see me? Will they say hi to me? Do they even know who I am or remember me? Will I look stupid if I say hi? These thoughts seem common to many on campus. The anxiety generated from running into someone you sort-of know leads to most burying their heads in their phones, looking at the ground, or creating fierce eye-contact with the nothingness in front of you until you pass the person you kinda know. Or, perhaps, this campus is just full of students with short-term memory loss who truly don’t know you. Yet, the extents to which our fellow students resort to avoid a quick hello or a wave indicate something different is occurring. Why has it become so common on our campus to act like we don’t know people we actually know? It’s a rare occurrence to walk across our small campus at our small liberal arts college without encountering someone you recognize from our small student body. Why don’t we say hi?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. However, I do know that we all deeply missed the regular human interaction that the COVID pandemic suspended. Perhaps during this time it became commonplace to shy inwards and pretend not to know one another—but we do, we do know one another! I contend that we begin to break the ice and start saying hi. But what if I look stupid or silly? Who cares! At least you’ll be a friendly person, and likely, whomever you said hi to, will appreciate your gesture of camaraderie.
Our student body is unique with its small size. Perhaps we begin taking advantage of it rather than avoiding neighborliness with those we cohabitate, study, play, eat, and create with. Let’s make each other’s day and demonstrate kindness—it goes a long way. Fostering a cordially unified student body and community could brighten our personal lives, enliven our campus, provoke collaboration, and inspire our work here. Developing a culture of friendliness can launch our community to greatness.
Now some advice for seniors…
1. Know You’ll Get a Job
Probably the biggest thing on any senior’s mind is: What am I going to do next year? Trust me, we’re all feeling this. Perhaps you’ve been applying to jobs or masters programs all year and nothing has worked out, or perhaps you’ve just started or have yet to start. Whatever the case, you’ll get there. It can be discouraging to receive a rejection or hear absolutely nothing after working tirelessly on applications; further, it can be bittersweet to hear about the exciting plans of others when you have yet to figure out your plans—but know that something good is coming to you. You’re going to make it. You’ve gotten this far, something will fall into place. Perhaps it’s not the job or situation you dreamed of, but that’s the great thing about life: you can change your course at any time! We’re all off to do great things, we just might not know exactly what’s in store for us just yet.
2. Don’t Let Senioritis Lead to Regret
Again, trust me, we’re all feeling it. I’ve begun dreading assignments, going to the library to study, or even getting to class in the mornings; but this final push is so crucial for our ability to celebrate when it’s all over. Take advantage of the daytime during these next few weeks to get things done so that the nights and weekends can be fun. We deserve to let loose and celebrate our immense accomplishments. If we don’t finish this final stretch, we could end up at the library for extended hours while our friends are finished and enjoying the sunshine on the quad. You can do this! Think about the end goal!
3. Experience Hartford
We have a special location here at Trinity, and if your post-grad life doesn’t land you in Hartford or Connecticut, take advantage of your unique opportunity to experience the city in the next few weeks leading up to graduation. Go check out the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art or attend a Hartford Yard Goats game. Even spend an afternoon taking a walk at Bushnell Park and stop at a local brewery on the way home!
One of the most important things we can do over the next month is soak it all in. Take time to enjoy your friends and peers at Trinity—it’s the last time we’ll all be together on our beautiful campus. We’ve worked incredibly hard to earn our undergraduate degrees, it’s time to enjoy our college experience before beginning our next chapter.