Springtime at GW has arrived and senioritis is more rampant than genital herpes in Thurston Hall. The weather is finally tolerable, the cherry blossoms are in bloom and it is once again nice to be outside. After a cold and dreary winter, spring emerges with a new sense of life, beauty and tube tops.
For the seniors, this has been our final spring at GW, and it was surely like no other. As we all try to make the most of the final stretch, there is one word on everyone’s mind: graduation. Our time has finally come, and the real world awaits a new batch of recruits. Everyone knows that being a senior nearing graduation means experiencing a time of questioning and introspection: “What will I do after I graduate? Where will I live? What will my life be like? Will I turn into all those people that I make fun of at happy hour? What will I do without my life at GW?” While these are all questions that we may ask ourselves, we must also wonder, “Have I done irreparable damage to my body?”
The “freshman 15” isn’t a myth; there is no question that college makes you fat. Wendy’s does not have a health-conscious menu, and most of my friends only know where the gym is because it is the only place on campus to find girls running on treadmills. Also, we have all seen the ad that claims “Most GW students have 0 to 4 drinks when they party.” I guess that my friends were not interviewed, or maybe they just didn’t include pre-gaming in their count. I was at the liquor store with a friend the other day, and he offered up his driver’s license when purchasing alcohol. To this customary gesture, the man at the register responded, “What you do that for? I know you!” While this would be a cool thing to hear when you were 19, at 22 it is depressing – though you have an intimate relationship with the liquor store guy, you don’t seem to know anybody that works at the gym or at student health.
I somehow managed to lead a reasonably healthy life during my college years, but I cannot say the same for many of the people I got to know. I asked one of my closest friends at GW if he thinks that he led a healthy life at school. He answered, “Depending on your definition of healthy, the response could be yes or no. If you use the word ‘healthy’ as a synonym for vibrant, then yes, I have lived one incredibly healthy life at GW. If you mean physiologically and psychologically healthy, I have probably led one of the worst lives since the founding of the University.” He then left to go to McFadden’s with a smile on his face.
Graduation is certainly about moving on to the working world. It is the time to take what you have learned from the Student Association test file and from underclassman’s notes and find that it all has very little practical application. However, graduation may be mostly about realizing how ridiculously you managed to live during your college years and still come out alive. Never again will such practices be considered acceptable. For some, graduating will force drastic lifestyle changes. It is certainly possible that leaving the college scene may force all of those friends who spent their time networking with bartenders and bouncers to change their goals. On the other hand, I am expecting a lot of calls asking if I know where to get an extra liver or lung.
So, as we finish up at GW or move on to the ever-respected status of “super-senior” (where super refers to the amazing ability to take longer than everyone else), we should all look back on our time here and think, “Holy shit, I can’t believe I am still alive. I really could use a drink.” 5/22/05 – Last call.
-The writer is a graduating senior majoring in Middle East studies.