So this is it.
Overweight suitcases and hastily stuffed duffel bags line the hallway. Parents scurry around, last minute packing ensues. Someone inevitably loses a something – a room key, a microwave, a Kindle. It’s all quite cacophonic, but a singular bleakness pervades the air. As the freshmen – or should I say the rising sophomores – move out, the organism of the Commons takes its final breaths before it settles into serenity under the scorching Nashville sun, awaiting the incoming horde of new freshmen, invariably smarter and better than the last. Every moment spent, every memory made, every book read on Peabody Esplanade, every Commodore Card swiped, every billiard ball struck, every jam session held on the lower quad, every humiliating conversation overheard, every laundry load agonized over, every roommate qualm abated, every fourth meal bought at ungodly hours, every all-nighter begrudgingly pulled upstairs in Commons, every conversation struck with a favorite professor, every joke made about Dank New Rand, every story shared, every friendship made, and every lifelong connection established, will be swept away with our departure. Gone will be this mutual experience we call our freshman year, immortalizing us as the freshman class of 2016, a number, an entry, a group of 1608 people who shared a common goal of mutual understanding and academic and personal growth. Today is the day this is all over, and frankly, I could not be sadder.
Leaving will always be hard for me. Nine months ago, I left my home country to come to a place I knew neither how to maneuver nor how to survive. Now I am insurmountably older, more experienced, more open to thought, more appreciative of intellect, and more knowledgeable of, well, things. Freshman year, I learned things. I grew. I grew with these people I will grow with for three more years. And I could not be more thrilled.