Leaving our SMUDDge: A Reflection on Senior Year
“Hey, do mine next!” My senior friends eagerly cram around my classmate, who has learned a bit about palm reading for our art class. They shove their palms towards her face, laughing about what their hands allegedly predict about their future and personality traits. Though they know better than to take the length of their life line and the size of their thumb divisions seriously, hearing some prediction about the future is comforting to a Mudd senior at this point in the school year. Many of us have no job to go to yet after graduation, and graduate school applications are still a work in progress. Having no plan for post-graduate life scares me, and I know many others who are uncomfortable with this great, unknown future too. Mudd seemed to be an unending experience that we inched our way through, but now that we are so close to the end, it feels like we’re sprinting at 3/5 c.
In spite of the terror that post-grad life inspires in some, many seniors have already begun interviewing for post-grad jobs, and Dean Bassman hosts a weekly graduate school workshop for those of us engineering majors who want to spend even more time in school. For the seniors who are jumping straight into a career, leisure time and real-world adult life await. “I’ll probably have more free time after Mudd to do the things I want to do,” commented senior Sangheetha Naidu, a Computer Science major with dreams of moving to New York to start her illustrious coding career. Nonetheless, adult life also means no Mudd dining hall to rely on for food, lots of bills to attend to, more living space to clean, and more money to manage. Mudd students who will attend grad school next fall will also face some aspects of adult life, though they will probably not have the benefit of bountiful leisure time. I know seniors from almost every major who are applying to grad school, so there are plenty of people to swap personal statement tips and cram for the GRE with.
Because the future of most Mudd seniors is still uncertain, nostalgia has become even more comforting. Though we have much to still look forward to in life, there are many aspects of Mudd life that we seniors will miss. “It’s nice being in dorms with people,” reflects senior Nancy Wei, a fellow engineering major hoping to have a job working with digital and electrical systems next year. Residential life is a treasured part of our time at Mudd, and we will probably never live with all of our classmates and friends again. Though I do not identify as a “party person”, I will actually miss the blaring music from North and West, and I hope post-grad life doesn’t get too lonely without all of my friends a few footsteps outside of my door. Nancy also notes that being Mudd students granted us access to a wide variety of classes, teaching us everything from engineering and biology to photography and geocaching. “I’ll miss free access to a library with a lot of good non-fiction books,” adds Sangheetha, commenting on a resource that Mudd students use for literature review for papers, research for essays, and, for those who have time, leisure reading.
With our last first semester of Mudd about halfway complete, I wish I could freeze time but also know what the future holds. Clearly, I have mixed feelings about the precipice before us, but some, like senior Varsha Kishore, have stronger, more certain feelings: “I’m going to miss everything! I don’t want to graduate!” Regardless of such feelings, graduation will continue to charge towards us like a length-contracting rhinoceros, so we have to make the most of the time we have left here. I hope we all take advantage of these last few classes, make time to be with our friends, eat our last quiches, and say our last “what’s up what’s ups” (only at Mudd can you have such inside jokes for an entire class). This is it, Class of 2018. Make it count.