Gabriel Thomas

Arts and Entertainment Editor

As a senior who will soon graduate, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting; some on my time at Wooster, some on my time as a 22-year-old, some on the routines that make up everyday life. So I’ve decided to write out some of my thoughts in the hope that they will resonate with some of you. Even if they don’t, then I hope they encourage a more conscious engagement in the act of living. 

I’ll start with the importance of places. Walking around a campus that is now filled with unique and distinct memories from each of my four years here has become a favorite activity of mine in recent weeks, and it has really helped me realize the role that certain locations play in holding memories. Each place where some funny or stupid or sad memory took place is now a part of me, however small. 

There’s the hill on the golf course where my friends and I went sledding freshman year, or the picnic table that I would sit at and do my online lab, or the house that I was confined in during the COVID-19 outbreak, or the spot in Scovel where I edited my I.S. These places contain my memories and keep them safely stored, helping me relive them as I pass through. These places have become a part of me, both preserving some aspects of and grounding my identity. They help tell my story, document the collection of experiences that is me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the places where we live and grow are important, and that it’s kind of cool that they function in this role of librarian—cataloging our experiences.

 Goodbyes. I remember when my brother moved away for college. It was such a difficult goodbye because it was fundamentally changing the way my life had been organized for the past 16 years, and this type of change was not something I was familiar with. Saying goodbye to him felt, at the time, like it would be forever until I saw him again. In the past six years, though, I have finally got it in my head that goodbyes aren’t permanent, that the time until you see someone you care about again eventually passes, and this has made goodbyes somewhat less bitter and much more sweet for me. 

As we approach graduation, I know that I will have to start saying goodbye to some people that I probably won’t see for a number of years, and that’s still kind of hard to wrap my head around. But the time will pass, and I know I’ll see them again. All that’s left to do, then, is to enjoy their company while it lasts.

Ridiculously cliche advice. I feel like something reflecting on my time in school would be remiss if I didn’t throw out the age-old cliche: “these four years go by fast!” And while it’s definitely overused, it’s a cliche for a reason: it’s true. When I started here as a freshman, I.S. and graduation seemed so far away and four years seemed like such a long time. But here, on the other end of those four years, I sit around and wonder where the time went. So if I can offer a ridiculously cliche piece of advice: live in every moment you have here, because it really does fly by.

Now, this advice certainly gets thrown around a lot, but not a whole lot is said about how to really do this. To that end, I think conscious attention might play an important role. If you’re having a really good time doing something, be attentive to that experience. Really pay attention to the present moment and take a second to try and fully embrace what’s going on. This certainly won’t magically extend time, but it might help you feel like you’re really truly engaging with your life in a meaningful way. And if trying to live in every moment meaningfully isn’t a worthwhile goal, then I don’t know what is.