Today, May 18, 2016, marked the Commencement of the Class of 2016. Every year, graduation is special—it’s great to see friends and familiar faces from campus getting the chance to celebrate their victories and accomplishments from their time on campus. This year though, as I opened snap-chats, liked Instagram pictures and read our own SAAB seniors’ parting words, something felt different. Of course, I was incredibly happy for everyone but it was accompanied with a strange pit in my stomach. After all, this class was the class closest to us. They’re our classmates, friends and roommates. They’re our most trusted advisors, the first ones we went to for class recommendations and tricks for maximizing on dining dollars. They were the first older faces on campus, the ones that had more wisdom than us but not intimidatingly so. They were still figuring things out, but helped us along our way anyway. To think that we won’t see those faces on campus next year is well, weird, and it’s that weirdness that makes the pit in my stomach grow.
But a part of me can’t help thinking that maybe a part of that stomach-dropping feeling is just the slightest bit selfish. There’s no doubt that I’m going to miss my friends on campus next year, but I have to admit that the thought of being the oldest on campus is a little frightening. Senior year always felt so far away, but all of a sudden it was staring at us in the face. We’re officially supposed to be the ones with the most experience, the ones that the other classes look up to…but I’m just me and our class is just us. That’s not to say that our class isn’t incredibly accomplished, but I can remember so clearly our first days on campus: it doesn’t feel like we’ve been here long enough to be in our last year. I’ve just always been so comfortable knowing that there were students I could talk to who had shared experiences similar to mine or could give me an idea of what was to come, but now, we’re it. It’s our turn to step up, to be the leaders, mentors and advisors. It’s scary, but a task that I think we’ll be able to tackle…good thing we’ve got the summer to prepare.
To the Class of 2016: Congratulations, and good luck! We’ll miss you, but we’re all incredibly proud of your accomplishments and can’t wait to see what comes next. To the Class of 2017: here’s to our year.