Temps perdu

I write this post from Fort Lauderdale International Airport as I wait to board the last South Florida to Philadelphia flight of my life. The second semester of my senior year of college, and possibly the last semester of my institutional education, is within sight.

Earlier this morning, I nostalgically dug through my old posts on College Confidential and tied up a few loose ends. I found myself reflecting upon some of the course choices I made in high school, particularly those on Florida VIrtual School. AP Macroeconomics / Microeconomics, AP Statistics, and AP Computer Science A. Honestly, I took these extra courses in order to be valedictorian, but they paid such sweet dividends. How else would I have known to major in finance, statistics, and computer science? How else would I be employed at Google? As Steve Jobs said, "It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward...but it was very, very clear looking backwards."

Other high school reflections serve to remind me that I used to be much better at writing. This is partially because of all of the liberal arts courses I took back then, but another key driver is simply that I wrote more — creative writing, persuasive writing, and even expository writing. These days, I'm lucky if I can manage a blog post per month. I told my parents last week that I didn't believe in New Year's resolutions, but now that I think about it, I resolve to write more this semester. I think I still undergo valuable life experiences that would be worth chronicling. Thinking about it now, living in the fraternity house has probably contributed — and no, it's not because the chapter house does not foster a positive academic environment or anything. I think I used to write a lot in order to resolve questions or issues that nagged at me. But since I've lived with a lot of my best friends for the last couple of years, I've been able to talk through those internal issues rather than discover their solutions on the canvas of paper. I actually find that to be a positive change; however, I don't think it should be an excuse not to write anymore.

To tell you the truth, the mere thought of graduating brings me despair. Two weeks of winter break made me feel anxious at not having schoolwork to do, and working on side projects didn't help. Knowing myself, I actively seek an academic framework — after all, that's probably why I was happy to spend two summers doing Florida Virtual School courses. I'll work through two or three textbooks at a time once I leave Penn.

One mental dichotomy I battle is that I systematically reject senioritis as intellectual laziness, but I also have a residual worry about not stopping to smell the roses. I don't really have any time to myself next semester, now that Glee Club rehearsal has moved from Friday evenings to Saturday afternoons. I fear that between the rigor of my class schedule and the importance of my extracurriculars, Penn will be over all too soon. As Kenny Chesney put it, "Don't blink / Just like that you're six years old and you / Take a nap and you wake up and you're twenty-five."

I don't have any kind of elegant conclusion for this stream-of-consciousness post, but it feels good to document some of my thoughts, and to generally use writing once again as a tool to settle my inner turbulence.