On the last day of classes, a good friend (who’s graduating) asked me what I thought about being a senior. Quite honestly, I’m not there yet, so I responded by telling him what I thought about being a junior. Here’s a snapshot:
(Remember, I spent half the academic year in another country; that semester doesn’t feel like an integral part of my junior year experience but more of an introduction to a culture to which I would love to return.) I really appreciate my experiences this semester: my relatively high proportion of anthropology classes allowed me to both get deeper into my chosen field of specialization as well as hang out with really awesome people whose original connection to me is only through anthropology. By coincidence, one friend whom I’ve known since our first year orientation continues her mission trip abroad while I’m here, so by necessity we both branched into new friendships. On May 19th, friends made originally through a J term abroad, work study (at the anthropology lab), common lunches, and anthropology classes will graduate, and there’s a chance I won’t see them again. Nonetheless, I am really glad to have made their acquaintance, and though I wish I could spend more time with them, I wish them well in their post-Luther realities.
During the last week of classes, I heard one sentiment chorused from a number of people: “It just became spring, so it doesn’t feel like we should be ending!” I will blame the weather, or something, because even after this ridiculously difficult academic semester, and the Egyptian academic semester, I still got excited when contemplating the wrestling with ideas that lay in front of me through papers and next fall’s classes. I’m normally burned out from reading and writing; last year, I was so burned out that I grabbed onto the best chance to dip into the post-academic world (studying abroad) where I’d have to balance living and working in a non-residential campus arena. On the back side from that experience, I’m amazed that I still get way excited attempting to reconcile the philosophical and ethical knots handed to me through four classes. Don’t worry, I still have academic requirements to complete: I’m still writing the papers that have replaced final exams and, in preparation for my senior project in anthropology, I will read many different theoretical perspectives through which to write my proposal.
Every year at Luther I access a different aspect of this campus and its environment. While last year I biked and ran the extensive trail system around town and campus, other commitments have made that relatively impossible this semester. However, the tradeoff has been beginning or strengthening relationships with professors and other students, some of which I had no idea would uplift me. The Luther community preaches that a well student exercise sustainability as well as healthy diet, physical and mental exercise, relationships and spirituality – but the task of balancing all of these within the context of personal priorities and professorial and work demands is up to each individual. I’ve not yet reached a happy equilibrium, and I’m glad I have another year to try. I’m sad to see my graduating friends leave, but I am super excited for all my friends studying and living away from campus to return for our collective last Luther hurrah!