I’m already back on campus for my last year at Luther College. Classes don’t start until Sept. 4th, but I’m one of the leaders on a pre-Orientation trip. Called Immersion Trips, there are nine such trips taking first year students with an upperclass student and a faculty/staff/alum – I’m co-leading a trip headed to the Boundary Waters, to which we leave tomorrow! I moved into a house/apartment two days ago, prepping for this trip to the BWCAW. After wrapping my head and gathering most of the details, I’m ready. I met my seven co-trippers today, and I’m excited to get to know them better! I did notice, however, that it felt weird to introduce myself: “Hi! I’m Jess, a senior at Luther.”
I’m a senior. What?! I moved into a house, not a dorm. I don’t have meals coming to me from Dining Services; I have a kitchen. I will live with 5 other women, not just one (four other roommates won’t move in for another week). My house has two floors; I can fall over and scream with laughter without annoying the floor above or below me. Classmates of mine are student teaching this or next semester. We’re going to walk across a stage next May – I’ve heard stories about commencement but I’ve not been to one. By then, I will have to have my next move figured out, a time bomb staring at me through 9 months. This next move won’t be the last by a long shot, but it will determine up to the next 5 years of my life. This year could easily be my last in an academic setting, a system of arranging time that has been my reality for the last 18 years of my life. I’m partaking in at least two weddings after graduation, as classmates publicly announce their next largest life transitions from single to committed partnerships.
And, as I walk around campus running errands, packing my gear for this trip, eating with the other Immersion Trip leaders and meeting my first years, I feel like I’m simply entering my junior year again. I will have adjusted my frame of reference to the reality check of “graduating senior” by the end of this trip, but for now I feel far too young, inexperienced, and unqualified to be stepping into that last year.