As I pound away ferociously on the library keyboard, going through the emotional and academic up’s and down’s that are intrinsic to the self-imposed thesis life, I’m constantly reminded of the 60 days that are left until graduation. Commencement, they call it. The beginning of our time to terras irradient. The end only draws closer and closer, whether I am ready for it or not. I spent four out of my 21 years of life here at Amherst. Nearly a quarter of my life has been spent juggling classes, staying up with problem sets, discovering new passions and paths, building great friendships that I can only hope will last a lifetime…the question that remains is “What was the point of it all?”
I hear that adults envy the time we have now because we essentially had four years to read great books, learn from great professors, and interact with great peers. I had an interesting talk with a career adviser today and she informed me that all private institutions such as Amherst as considered non-for-profit. In other words, all the money we give for tuition is ultimately reinvested back into us. This idea has crossed my mind before – this idea that a college education is somewhat of a selfish pursuit that ultimately benefits no one but ourselves. If you think about it, all those nights lost to studying and all those hours spent inside a classroom was meant for the betterment of you as an intellectual being.
Today, I feel like a heavily-invested, disgustingly bloated, spoiled girl who was granted this privileged life by no choice or effort on my part. This was a life I was handed by sacrificial parents, mentoring instructors, and supportive friends. Today, I feel more thankful than ever to have a long night ahead of me writing a history paper, editing my thesis, extracting data, writing emails, and planning my senior trip to New Orleans. Today, I am grateful that all I have to worry about in the near future is deciding how I can best use my future career to better the world. If I had any words to impart on college students, it is that we should be gracious to be able to spend these four years of our youth developing the skills and experience we need to craft our own niches in society. Am I being overly idealistic? Perhaps. But I can promise you that these college years were not for naught; they have shaped us for what I hope is the better. With privilege comes opportunity, with opportunity comes action. As a fellow senior aptly put, the greatest challenge of our generation is the fight against apathy. As graduates, we are capable of finding the wrongs and imperfections of this world just as long as we choose to look at them.