In my Spanish class this semester we’ve been reading Cién Años de Soledad, or One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. This novel is arguably one of the best of its time, and without a doubt groundbreaking in its content and style. As we analyze themes, characters, and the contextual history of the novel, I found myself stuck on the notion of time. In his novel, Márquez toys with what we consider to be the normal constraints of time. He paints it as an extreme force, pulling the characters and their world into a vicious cycle of a repeating past that eventually ends as it began: as nothing. And throughout the novel, though the characters might forget about it as they try to live their lives, time is always present, hanging over their heads, passing and pulling them along unnoticed.
As I attempted to focus this theme into a cohesive and presentable topic to present in class, I found myself in a strange, retrospective state. When I was flipping through the pages of the book finding key moments in characters’ lives, I began contemplating my own. With the semester drawing to a close, I see my peers preparing for what is to come next and I find myself in awe of how far we’ve come. In the graduating seniors, I see role models: people who have successfully finished their Hopkins experiences, and who are finding or getting one step closer in finding their places in the real world. In the rising seniors I see a class who has been the closest to us, the most immediate older siblings who can easily reminisce to our year, but who is moving forward and preparing us for what is to come. In the rising sophomores, I see a class shaping itself, stepping up and defining their place on campus, even though it feels like they just arrived as a jumble of excited faces. In us, the rising juniors, I see…well us. I see familiar faces moving through our time here together, yet as we move I see us as stationary. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Seeing how much our class has grown and how much we’ve accomplished makes me incredibly proud. We’ve all faced challenges but didn’t let them deter us from becoming a group of extremely driven, passionate, and bright individuals. But even as I see maturity in what we do and how we do it, I want to see us frozen in time because a part of me doesn’t want to picture us as older. I don’t want to imagine us as one step closer to having to part ways. It feels like we just got here and just got started; I can’t believe we’re at the point in our journey where we can look back and choose the defining moments of our first 50%.
And as I look back, while there are certain memories that will always stand out, everything else has woven itself together into a blurry collection. Looking forward, I worry that this haziness will prevent me from defining my time here. Judging from how fast the first two years passed, I can’t imagine how fast the next two will feel. I worry that—just as Márquez dictates in his story—I won’t be able to catch up with time as it pulls me along its course. Maybe it’s silly for me to already anxiously dread losing memories or to have nostalgia for something that isn’t even over yet, but I know for the next two years I’ll be reminding myself to make every moment count.