When I was little, all I wanted was to be a cleaning lady – which, to be honest, probably should have been a source of concern for my parents. I used to follow our cleaning lady around the house and watch her as she measured out cups of powder detergent for the laundry; take measured leaps on my tiptoes across the wet kitchen floor and leave a constellation of small dry spots with the pads of my feet. I thought it was the coolest job in the world: going from house to house, tidying, ironing, rearranging the tangible minutiae of the lives of complete strangers.
Clearly, I was destined for greatness. That, or I was just a really weird kid.
In second grade, I upgraded my career goals to being a doctor, without realizing that the basic prerequisites for any job in the medical field include a stomach for flesh wounds and a minimal tolerance for needles…neither of which I possess – at all. I mean, obviously now I can suck it up and deal with it – even if it’s only because it’s not socially acceptable to ask for a lollipop at the doctor’s office past the age of six.
I’ve wanted to be an actress, a singer, Harry Potter’s girlfriend, a lawyer (thank you Elle Woods for giving girls everywhere unrealistic expectations for both hair and law school acceptance rates), Shania Twain, and, knowing me, probably much more.
Now, I occupy smaller and decidedly less ambitious spaces. In the span of nearly two decades (eek!), I’ve gone from being a wannabe cleaning lady to a student here – one of the most prestigious research universities in the nation. And in the span of a year, I’ve gone from an excited freshman receiving countless words of advice to the (somewhat) more experienced sophomore giving it.
I’ve gone from marveling at all of my college “firsts” – first CharMar sub, first roommate (hi Jane!), first day of classes, first hangover, first FFC Late Night, first internship – to marveling at the “firsts” that continue to present themselves regardless of seniority. There is no end to the amount of firsts that can be shared amongst a group of people. Our experiences depend on these details, these firsts, anchoring us and reminding us of who we used to be, even if our innocence has already begun to slip away.
It goes without saying that time flies. It goes without saying that so much can change in a year. But it also goes without saying that, as we project ourselves into the future, those firsts become reference points that ground the innumerable ways in which we can and will dovetail and diverge in the time we have left.
I still sing (in the shower, at least). Sometimes I still wish I were a cleaning lady (like when I look at the appalling state of my closet right now…I look like I belong on “Hoarders”). Although I’ve accepted the fact that I will never be Shania Twain, I’m still holding out for Harry. And God help us all if I ever become a certified medical professional.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, looking back, the future has a strange way of fulfilling itself. So in my very last post as a freshman, I’d like to look back in an attempt to look forward. Here’s to a great year with (and without) some of the most amazing people I know. Here’s to a school, city, major, and group of friends that I’ve come to both know and love. Here’s to all of my ridiculous childhood dreams (and my parents’ unfailing support – love you!). Here’s to sophomore year.
Here’s to the future.