Coming into my final year at Haverford, I anticipated feeling a bit of denial and overwhelming nostalgia. While not an untrue statement, the transition to this transitional year has been smooth and natural. Dare I say it? I’m relishing being a senior and the productive, exciting opportunities it affords.
My thesis proposal is in, approved, and awaiting remarks from my newly minted thesis adviser. I’m going to be working with Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger and exploring construction of character through geographic and mental spaces, as well as time and memory. This thesis topic draws on my established interests in perspectivalism and temporality, and allows me to reflect further on theories of identity in relationship to place, which I cultivated during my extensive travels during my semester abroad. The senior thesis experience is a space for culmination and reflection, as well looking forward within the discipline.
Speaking of looking forward, the beginning of this semester has catalyzed really meaningful discussions regarding plans after Haverford. Being a senior means constantly balancing a bit of apprehension about moving on, and also being excited about the opportunities that Haverford affords. At this juncture, I’m especially appreciative of the close relationships I have with my professors. I’ve applied for multiple teaching and education-related fellowships abroad, and am now looking at domestic opportunities. I won’t lie, thinking about moving to a different country, or throwing yourself wholly into a new setting, is kind of scary. It requires a lot of introspection and understanding of yourself (especially when it comes to writing a compelling personal statement…) in multiple (geographic and mental) settings. I guess my thesis ideas are really applicable outside of the classroom too! A lot of that discovery has been a result of a lot of self-reflection, but my professors’ advice has been invaluable. They’ve helped me talk through future career trajectories and ambitions, highlighted key resources and networks, and cultivated confidence all the while. I know I can count on them for killer recommendations too, because they know me as more than just a writer, or dedicated student; my professors know me fully as a person, and that speaks volumes when it comes to crafting a colored, 3-D application.
Being a senior isn’t all heavy thinking and complex conversations. I’ve so enjoyed hanging out with/babysitting my adviser’s son and hearing his 5 year old musings (“is that crack in the road because of an earthquake? I can jump and make an earthquake because I’m powerful!”), or noshing on the delicious tomato pie at Carlino’s, a nearby Italian specialty store, while cheering on Haverford sports teams, or traveling into Philadelphia for restaurant week. Being a senior means balancing at a fulcrum in your life’s narrative: looking forward while reflecting on the past, enjoying life’s simple pleasures while working hard, and being open to new opportunities while remaining grounded in your ambitions. Onwards!