Do you know that feeling of restlessness that you get when you begin freshman year in high school, or even in college?
I remember looking down at the ID hanging around my neck seeing my graduating/ class year in freshman year and thinking- “Oh my God. That is four years from now…”
It’s the same feeling of desperation that forces you to heave a long, eye-roll inducing sigh.
That ID scenario is equivalent to the sum of the four bearable and coveted individual years of high school/college, (in other words, one large horrid uphill battle without a single day off), that just hits you directly in the face.
But then this restlessness fades.
Enter the Senior Sensation -
Senior year rolls around and you decide that this place of drudgery, caffeine, and eye-candy has actually been a sanctuary that you can call your own.
You have cried here, laughed here, had academic triumphs and not-so-worthy work handed in after not sleeping for over 48 hours, thought you had a moment with someone who you would see spontaneously over the course of the term-smiling inside at the kismat, and then not see him at all the next term, and went from running to your dorm whenever you had to use the bathroom in freshman year to knowing where every single bathroom is located on campus.
Suddenly you’re comfortable with this place despite it working against every facet of your being - *that may just be my case.
Today, I went to an informal information session and small tour of Columbia University. Might as well see all of New York as a New Yorker. *Note - I hate the concept of touring selective universities- why tour if you have not been admitted yet? Why do you pre-determine your place somewhere without reason? It’s arrogance is what it is! – My immediate family and I have always thought a level of humility of this sort was necessary to uphold.
A New Yorker above all else, I was surprised with what happened next. As I walked through the iron gate that said “Columbia University”, I felt myself stiffen up - more than usual that is.
Suddenly, without being consciously aware of it, I thought to myself, “Dude- Penn is so much better than this! Our campus is way more beautiful, collegiate, and Ivy League-ish.”
Woah- Was that loyalty or me just being competitive?
It was definitely loyalty…and pride, and me just defending my kind. I know this because I feel the same adrenaline rush when I talk about Sikhism or India or New York.
I held my head up high, my posture straight, walked assertively in my four inch platform heel on the cobble-stoned uneven path that characterizes the Ivy League, and all the while hoped that I would not fall on my face.
With my proud persona preceding me, the tour began and so did the unwelcoming introductions.
“Hi, my name is Reshmi Oberoi. I’m a senior at the University of Pennsylvania and am majoring in Health & Societies.”
*Blank Stares.* What is “Health & Society?”
The tour guide then pointed behind me and a female voice said, “I too am a senior at UPenn and am majoring in Health & Societies.”
I suddenly felt myself shedding the stuffy persona of a visitor at a rival Ivy. I swiveled around and met her with a smile, a wave, and an awkward “Hiiii”, in true Reshmi-style.
A fellow UPenn-er! I now had back-up, yo.
Turns out she just declared her major and so our class schedules didn’t coincide, hence we had not met until then.
As we were conversing in between the tour and Columbia’s sorry excuse for historical anecdotes (find the owl on that statue!-), that Upenn seems to have no end of, (the tampons, the ben franklin statue on college green and the infamous button, the urine bench, etc),
I told her: “I’m actually looking forward to going back [to Penn].”
She responded: “Oh, I ’m always ready to go to Philly!”
My response: “ No, you don’t understand. I never want to go to back to Penn, but I actually [pause] - I want to - [pause] -”
Tour guide: “Ok, now we’re in front of the Uris building - it’s shaped like a toilet. It’s constantly ranked as the top business school in the world.”
In my head: “HELLO? Remember WHARTON?”
Oh Senior Sensation. You are a troublemaker like no other -