Regret sucks. Reflecting on a college experience makes one melancholy enough, but doing so in a pandemic? We haven’t seen this before. Amongst the things that I was able to do at Wooster, there were several others that I did not have the passion or drive to experience. I am so immensely grateful for what I did get to take part in, but there remains a voice in my head that keeps asking why I didn’t do more.
As my friend Alec and I often talk about, Wooster is what you make of it. Speaking with professors, connecting with your peers and reaching out to alumni are some of the massive benefits that come with being part of a small and interconnected family. The plethora of research opportunities throughout the school year and the summer, the freedom of researching topics that you are passionate about through final papers and I.S. and the multitude of clubs you can be a part of all add up when you reflect back on your time at Wooster. You can either choose to ignore them, or you can reach out and explore them more.
My very basic advice, which one will have heard time and time again, is to seize the opportunities that you have at Wooster. Although I wish it were the case always, you may never have the experience again of having friends who live two residence halls away, escaping to the library to be fascinated by your discipline or going to the gym to blow off steam.
As one might have realized, Wooster is not a big school. The incredible chance one has to build genuine connections with one another while on campus is so easy to disregard, yet so rewarding when one actually does make an effort to reach out. Before beginning my senior year, I asked friends of mine who had graduated before me about the advice they had for my final year at Wooster. Without hesitation, all of them talked about how I should make time for my friends, even if there were pressures of finding a job, writing I.S. and applying to graduate school. Those C-Store runs, walking around campus, chatting in the library and soaking in the glorious two-month long sun on the res quad possibly led to some of the most defining and formative conversations that I have had the privilege of having.
I do want to offer a guide for reflection as well, which has been a critical tenet of my life at Wooster. In the Voice office, there’s a quote that says “Everyone’s a fuckin’ editor,” (attributed to Spider Jerusalem, and I have no idea who that is) which I’ve come to see in two ways. The first is when a new copy editor approaches you on the desk with a change that goes against editorial guidelines, and while you wish you could literally only respond by pointing to the AP Styleguide, instead you simply ignore the suggestion.
The second is outside the realm of student journalism, and more so in our general lives. We often find ourselves so careful to edit and critically examine each other’s lives, yet we barely ascribe any introspection to ourselves. This brings me back to “Wooster is what you make of it.” Whether you are a first year who had an insanely different first college experience than you might have expected, or a junior who is both excited and scared shitless of the joys of senior year, you have the time to define what you want your Wooster experience to be. Don’t let anyone else choose your time at this fantastic place, and definitely don’t let opportunities slip away.
To sign off, in the end, don’t let regret run through.