May 27th, 2004

avatar w/buff hat

What I Liked About Senior Week

I've been thinking back on one of the oddestly pleasant weeks of my life: "senior week" at my little liberal arts college in Maryland.

"Senior week" was the name for the week after classes & exams ended and before graduation---a week during which underclasspeople had to be out of their dorms, but seniors, or at least those seniors who didn't have lotsa money & thus couldn't jaunt to the Carribean or something, would stick around waiting, in the semi-abandoned dorms on the campus populated by just that strange subset of the student body.

In addition to it being oddly quiet, and peopled by this particular subgroup, we were all coming right off being dead busy, and suddenly we had no school work to do at all. No portfolios to prepare for the Sophie Kerr committee, no senior theses to finish (mine was a book of poetry), no comprehensive exams to get through. And---perhaps most significantly to life around the place that week---no cafeteria. That's right---the cafeteria, the main site for socializing and the decidedly primary source for food, was closed.

Something like 99.5% of the student body (of 750 students, altogether) used the cafeteria plan for meals. They made it kinda hard not to, and though there were some rudimentary cooking facilities here and there, there weren't many, and we had precious little cooking equipment. So we mostly sat around, listening to music, and planning the next meal. Maybe we did some poetry reading. I don't even remember. I'm sure there was drinking and other debauchery. But it was just a grand week, leaving us all pretty sated and ready to get the hell out of there (yeah, PiJ, I know you were ready to get the hell out of there a lot earlier!). I'm sure there was some time for reflection in there, too.

What I'm liking about it now, thinking back, is that it built in to us (or at least me), inadvertantly, this notion that it's appropriate, at such significant times of transition, to take a little solitary time before the next move, whatever it may be. Since then, I've always striven to have a gap between obligations (read: jobs). Twice it's been a gap built by quitting a job and going off on a month-long drive-about around the country. It's made me love quitting jobs, too (as I was telling atleastdefiant not so long ago, when she was celebrating having just quit one herself).

I, Lisa "Buffalo" Nichols, hereby advise anybody getting of school or leaving a job or travelling back to their home country for a long visit or, I dunno, getting out of the military---or freakin' breaking up with somebody---to try to arrange for time like that, if it's at all possible. Quiet, slow, almost timeless time, with just enough socializing to keep it pleasantly companionable but still a little dull, and with few obligations if any, and only a handful of options for activity.

So I say, on this day of four-and-two-thousand, etc.
  • Current Music
    Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg, "Night and Day"