Yesterday was a sobering day. The prospect of imminent graduation concentrated our minds wonderfully. In the morning, the senior class received an email with a link to the senior survey. This was an opportunity for us to reflect on our Vassar experience. After determining that my math skills are now weaker than they were in the fall of 2006, I faced an open-ended question. There was a space to comment on issues that the survey didn’t cover.
This wasn’t quantitative. I didn’t have to mark “strongly disagree” or “no change.” Instead, I had to think about the issues that really impacted my time at Vassar. I’ve taken great classes and met amazing and strong people, but I could have done that at any of the schools I considered in my senior year at Strath Haven. Also, the things that have negatively colored my experiences here could have (and probably would have) happened at Barnard, Smith, or Wellesley.
So, I wrote what I knew. I wrote about the laughably bad counseling service, how relationship abuse is dismissed, and how the administration would rather ignore these failings than deal with correcting them. I know that friends at Barnard have had the same problems, as well as friends at other schools. But these are still things that Vassar needs to address.
In the evening, the class council hosted an event to mark the 50th night before we graduate. There was pizza and beer and vegetables with that unidentifiable white dipping sauce. There was also cake that paled in comparison to the tiramisu I spend the afternoon making. About an hour into the event, I realized that I was just hanging out with the people I live with or near. I saw people I had been friends with, but didn’t feel an impulse to go and catch up (but I might have, after a few more beers). I said hello to a few classmates, but I spend most of the evening sitting with my housemate and a neighbor and gossiping about people we were friends with freshman year.
At about 11.30, we realized that the couches at home are comfier than the ones at this event. We also realized that there were about a dozen untouched pizzas. We grabbed one and went home. In our living room, we watched clips from the Mary Martin Peter Pan, which was the movie of my childhood. We also talked about the issues of modern feminism, looked at old family photos, and rejoiced in the fact that we can still be covered by our parent’s insurance next year.
So, Vassar, this is what I’ll remember most from my four years here. Not the programming during freshman orientation or senior year, not the hundreds of pages I’ve written, not even the times this institution has broken my heart and my faith in humanity. I’ll remember sitting around with brilliant people, eating stolen pizza, and laughing.