To Graduating Seniors

Congratulations, seniors, Class of 2017!  We made it.  In two weeks, you will be alumni of Amherst College.

For the past two semesters, you viewed everything from the lens of your last.  Our last Fall Break, our last Spring Formal, our last Burger day at Val...the list stretches for miles.  You grappled with feelings of nostalgia and the fears of growing up while writing theses, applying for jobs, applying to graduate schools, applying to fellowships and working on-campus jobs.  Everything seemed to go so fast, not just these last two semesters but the whole four years.

I can recount our key moments.  How we participated in the longest orientation in the country...and then didn't attend the last event.  How we make jest of administrative mistakes...Seriously though, what happened, Pete? ...And the times that we took it serious like Amherst Uprising and students against our mascot Lord Jeff.  We watched as departments restructured and we participated in the search for new professors.  We rallied for new departments, and petitioned for professors to receive tenure.  While only some of our efforts resulted positively, our message was always clear.

For the past few weeks, many seniors would ask me if I felt sad to experience X thing for the last time.  When I said not really, they couldn't believe it.  For me, attending an event doesn't have much meaning.  What means more to me is being with students that I couldn't have met outside of Amherst College.  The thought that I can't just walk ten minutes to hug a friend from South Korea saddens me more than watching a celebrity on stage in our gym for the last time. 

Next week, I'm going to try to take advantage of all of those moments.  I want to see you all while I still can.  Because some of you may be a guest at my wedding, a regular brunch date, my child's doctor...and some of you will be encapsulated in my memory of college. For those that fall in the last category, it doesn't mean that our time together meant nothing, but rather our paths will converge for shorter spans of time.  When that does happen, the joyous memories of college will still be there.

Congratulations, Class of 2017.  We did it.