Pomp and Circumstance

It’s mid-June, and “Pomp & Circumstance” (it’s such an odd name, isn’t it?) is in the air as high schools release their senior classes from their halls and homerooms.  The conclusion to another academic year is an obvious moment to segue from one emotion-packed admissions cycle to the next, so let’s lower the curtain and reset the stage.

Farewell, Class of 2014, your amazing race is finished.  And welcome to the long and winding road, ‘15ers.  We’ll be seeing a lot of each other.

In the short interim between one admission process and the next, the Admissions Office is uncommonly quiet.  The phones don’t ring.  The lobby is mostly empty, except on Fridays.  My in-box has fewer than a dozen messages in it.  While there’s no tumbleweed blowing across the quad, we do miss the company. 

But the quiet moment is short-lived.  The Fourth of July brings more than fireworks and parades to a college campus: SUVs and minivans full of visitors will reappear in our parking lots soon enough.  The tour guides walking backwards in flip flops (try it—it’s not easy) will have lots of ground to cover.

As the soon-to-be or recently-graduated seniors can attest, the college search does end.  The endless visits and deadlines and questions about “next year” do produce a destination.  And, happily, much of the anxiety about “first choices” and Early Decision and “safety schools” and waiting lists fades quickly.  Once a search produces a college (and hopefully it’s a college of choice) that place suddenly feels like the obvious selection, the one that was staring you in the face for months but you didn’t see it.

Dear rising (I’ve always loved that vampire-like modifying adjective, but maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of “True Blood”…) seniors: as you escape the end-of-junior-year crush of AP exams and proms and senior portraits for the yearbook, take a moment and enjoy the summer.  I kid you not.  Here’s a hall pass, signed by the dean.

Don’t fill the precious weeks of July and August with more stress and new deadlines and an endless list of things “to do.”  Go for a swim.  Play some games or plant a garden full of flowers or tomatoes.  Sleep a little longer.  Eat a Popsicle.  Spend some quality time with your grandmother or little brother. You’re only 17 once (unless you’re a teen vampire…) and, while it’s been a long time since I could claim that number as my own, I remember it fondly. 

In short, give yourself permission to be a kid for a little bit longer.  Junior year was hard, as it’s supposed to be. Rest up for your senior year, when there really will be a degree of stress, new deadlines to meet and a robust list of things “to do.”  Remember, schools call it “summer vacation” for a reason.

See you in September.  (Yes, I think I just gave myself a blogging vacation!)


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