This week, as the graduation canopies are raised around campus and the underclassmen make an exodus from school to their home towns, GW seniors are celebrating.
They are toasting the end of four years at GW, the place that surrounded them as they eased their way through the tricky transition from post-high school teens to full-fledged adults. As they end their stay at GW to venture into the world of full-time jobs and car payments, many are spending time remembering the way it all began.
At a pre-graduation celebration Saturday night, old friends Taryn Salvador, Courtney Scott and Julia Belanger reminisced about their favorite memories from the past four years. They have trouble agreeing what was the best time they had since becoming friends while living together in Thurston Hall freshman year. Their options seem to be limitless, and they laugh as they remember.
“Freshman year at the Thurston Block Party, they gave us all little water guns and things got way out of hand,” Belanger said. “It turned into an all-out water fight in the building. The hallways flooded and people were wearing raincoats. If you opened your door, water poured into your room.”
The three of them know their stories so well they finish each other’s sentences and contribute details if one forgets.
“Remember when we stayed up all night to register for classes?” Scott said. “It was our first registration, and we thought we’d sleep through it, so we convinced each other to stay up all night and register in the morning.”
“Then we walked to the monuments, remember?” Salvador chimed in. “It was great. We took all these people who were trying to stay awake and decided to go see the monuments in the middle of the night.”
“But then in the morning, the registration system was broken! We didn’t even get to register,” Belanger said.
They could go on for hours, they said. The memories of parties and pranks, late nights and great lines, fly into their minds faster than they can recite them.
Senior Brian Smith said he will never forget a talk he had freshman year with his roommate of the past four years, Greg Stern.
“We were sitting on the bed watching the snow fall outside the window – it had this pinkish-mauvish glow. And we just sat there for such a long time, talking about life to come,” Smith said.
Though he said he can’t remember what conclusions they came to that night, or if their predictions for the future have now come true, Smith said it didn’t matter.
“It’s not important what we talked about, what matters is that we talked,” he said.
But for all the momentous nights, just as many little everyday things stick out as special in the minds of many seniors.
“Watching hockey and football games on TV with my roommate freshman year,” Chris Hamner said. “Just sitting there together is one of my favorite memories. We had a great time.”
He and roommate Shane Morris also told their stories in tandem. They remember the time they had a party in honor of their new house, and someone almost set fire to their backyard fence.
Nights of misadventure have a unique nostalgic allure because they can’t believe they survived them, the seniors said.
“There are so many good memories you just can’t print,” Hamner said.