I recently passed the Rec Center and noticed the blown-up photograph of students on treadmills. I suddenly came to the realization that, in my four years at Hopkins, I have never set foot in the exercise room there. (My trips to the Rec Center have always been for the squash courts — please don’t judge me and my athletic inclinations.)
To prevent any potential last-minute regrets — even unlikely ones — I told myself I should add that to my bucket list for before graduation. I then remembered that I had not yet created one because it would’ve felt too real.
In an article last year, I discussed my acute awareness of May 27, 2021, what I then oh-so-dramatically termed the “funeral of my college career.” Now, with 28 days left until then (but who’s counting?), I would gladly swap places with the junior who wrote that piece.
In truth, I don’t feel ready to graduate. If I could have an extra semester, or even an extra year here, I would take it. I don’t know if I would feel differently if not for the pandemic. Regardless, it’s strange to think of moving on from Hopkins. Of course, at a base level, it’s hard because I’m leaving the familiar. But at a deeper one, it’s hard because I’m leaving a formative place, one that gave me close friendships and shaped me into who I am now.
Looking back, I wish I had kept a journal as a freshman so that I could delve into my 18-year-old psyche and see how much has (or hasn’t) changed. But I’ve never been good at keeping up with journaling, partially because I feel compelled to record every minute detail, which my hand quickly becomes tired of doing. Instead, I’ve always used my phone to take an excessive number of photos and videos, rarely for public consumption but simply to look back on. I suppose I have a need to record all the memories I can before time passes too quickly, especially recently, when I’ve felt nostalgic for a time that is still the present.
I hate the idea of forgetting. I still have notebooks from high school, tucked away in my desk drawers at home. Topics like senior year chemistry don’t give me much joy, and I don’t feel particularly sentimental about that period of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever even looked at them. The same goes for many of the videos on my phone. But for some reason, I like to know that they’re there.
These past few months, I’ve liked to pretend that graduation wasn’t happening. But as I write this article during the last week of classes and plan to take graduation photos this weekend, reality has truly started to hit me.
I’ve been putting pressure on myself to say something profound about goodbyes and leaving Hopkins. At least if I say something profound, I can excuse the potential melodrama or worse, in our day and age, the cringe. But I don’t have anything profound to say.
And since I have abandoned any semblance of profundity, I’ll now proceed to the “iykyk” section of this article. So, iykyk, here’s to: 9 Easties, po’s and my pham. Here’s to dirty chais, berry smoothies, turkey burgers, Bananagrams, the St. Paul’s Kung Fu Tea, the “electoral colleague” and Bradford Baddies.
Here’s to four cheese pasta sauce, mini crosswords, tres leches, rooms without sunlight, really.boring.website, word hunt and Words with Friends, binary search trees, surprise Zooms, birthday videos, chain messages and MNOP. Here’s to asphalt legends, fishbowl, sous chefs, roommate movie nights, LTC, Bamboo Cafe dinners, unsuccessful tweets, late night hide and seek, Choptank: Classic Fish & Crab House, poffertjes, Thanksgiving trips and almost-trips to Montreal, and Chicky and Paxil.
Here’s to being “sigusting,” cupping water from faucets, munching too loudly on jalapeño Cheetos, moving to 604, spending too many hours in Malone and on C-level, brushing and jamming, not filling the Brita, planning joint birthday parties, being pedantic, doing some recon, tracking and playing and having to go. Here’s to Voices and living with the editor-in-chief.
Here’s to (not-yet-failed) plans for radio shows, coffee cake, Krispy Kreme, double dates, badminton, if-onlys and watching Ratatouille. Here’s to hot pot, tables that are too small and Baltimore summers. Here’s to “morning” texts from my family and to sweet Ringo, whose pictures never failed to make me feel at home.
Here’s to all the love and memories that I couldn’t encapsulate in this one article. Here’s to the moments that I’ve forgotten — ones that my phone may remind me of in the unlikeliest of settings, but also ones that may never resurface. Here’s to an article that I may look back on and think, “Ah, cringe.” But that’s okay.
And here’s to the exercise room in the Rec Center, where you will surely find me on May 26.
Manavi Mongia is a senior from Long Island, N.Y. majoring in Cognitive Science. She is a former Voices Editor for The News-Letter.