// Gtranslate

And There Was One - Some Senior Reflections

December 27, 2021
Richard Ma

I’d just gotten home for the holidays this year when the Instagram posts started flooding in from my fellow Class of 22er’s - “Semester 7/8 done! One to go!” etc etc. Which of course wasn’t the first time this had crossed my mind. I’ve had a few late nights this semester thinking back to how it all began, reliving memories of the past three years, and wondering how on earth it could have all happened so quickly. I’m not kidding anyone, least of all myself. I knew from day one that these four years would move by fast.

People like to say at Princeton that the days are long, but the weeks are short. Every day, between the random encounters, the meetups for meals and studying, the trekking around campus from McCosh Hall to Firestone Library to Dillon Gym to Frist for Late Meal; between the plans you make for clubs and classes, and the hours after dinner you didn’t intend to spend playing pool or hanging out in the dining hall - every day you go to bed and think, how could I possibly have done all that in just one day?

Every day happens like that, and then you wake up and - wait a moment - that dinner in Whitman was a week ago? That dance performance was two? It’s been a month since that fall break trip and your fifteen page paper is due in like a week?

Wait a moment - it’s been three years already?

I tried to steel myself very early my first year for these thoughts. I knew the time would go by fast. But knowing only does so much. And I think what has helped me more than anything is trying as hard as I can to stay rooted in the present. To enjoy everything I have today, and to allow that to be all that matters. And when I sit down to think about all the experiences I’ve had, big and small, over the past week, or month, or year, I feel full, if that makes sense. 

I’m heading into my last semester. A couple weeks ago I woke up early one morning to do my last round of course selections for the upcoming semester. And it’s hard not to start thinking of things as the “last.” As a Residential College Adviser, I look at my first-year advisees and can’t help feeling a touch of melancholy at just how much time they have left. 

If any of you are looking at Princeton - heck, if any early action admits are reading this blog - I’m wishing you all the best. These years in college aren’t a cake walk, and sometimes things won’t seem the greatest. But look for and cherish the good moments. They go by fast.