I ate in the Caf four times last week. I went to an honors thesis presentation yesterday. I hiked to the cross this morning at some godforsaken hour, because I wanted to torture myself and also to see the sunrise. I actually like running on the track recently because I can gaze out at the baseball field and marvel at the clean, green lines. I stood outside the CCB last night and looked at the street lamps and marveled at how they look like pieces of a broken gold-link necklace against a blue velvet backdrop of ocean and sky. I even entertained the idea of going to my little brother’s freshman dorm to say hi just because, I don’t know, I wanted to smell the carpet or something. You know that freshman year carpet smell — a mix of commercial shampoo and microwave butter popcorn.
It is not a pleasant smell, but it reminds of me of days past and days before everyone asked me, “What are you doing next year?” or “How do you feel about graduating?” or even “You’re graduating?!” as if they are surprised I made it this far. I mean, I had my doubts sometimes, but doesn’t everyone? I think 2 a.m. self-doubt is a regular practice of our generation. There are plenty of angsty Twitter accounts created around it, that’s for sure.
To my point: I seem to have developed a mild case of nostalgia.
This nostalgia creeps up every year around this time, close to finals and dead week, but I think I recognize it more this time around because this is the last time around. The last time around affects everyone differently I suppose. One of my roommates is itching to get out of here, start her job, start graduate school, get a real apartment and probably get rid of me as a roommate; she says I’m too clingy (so what her bed is comfier than mine) and that I am always stealing her phone charger (well, guilty, I guess). Another friend refuses to talk about graduation. I think they call that denial. Yet another friend is never on campus; he divides his time between interviewing for jobs, napping and taking his girlfriend out to dinner. So there’s that.
And me? Thank you for asking. I would say I’m fighting this numb feeling of becoming irrelevant. Slowly, ever so slowly, I see my fellow seniors melting away from Pepperdine. We are finishing up our terms as SGA representative, ICC council member, PAC member, sorority or fraternity leader, resident or spiritual life advisor, etc. We feel the transition of responsibility from our shoulders to those of the next class. Suddenly these young juniors are bossing us around, telling us where to be and when. I mean, I guess they are the leaders now. We are the graduating seniors. That is our most identifiable collective characteristic. With that label comes the assumption that we will disappear into our Class of 2015 pullovers as gray, lumpy remnants of a day passed. And I want to fight this numbness; this somewhat comfortable feeling of becoming irrelevant, the incredibly appealing and easy option of just not caring anymore about anything.
Hear me out: I do not (and I repeat for emphasis: do not at all) want to stay here forever. I do not want to live in Lovernich anymore. I do not want to go to Convo anymore. I do not want to be the weird cling-on person who never seems to leave. However, I believe there is a way to stay involved, plugged in and invested in Pepperdine and the dear people that make it up, a way to fight the numbness of second semester senior year.
I think this is why I’ve been trying to eat in the Caf, why I participated in Songfest and why I will probably still go to Celebration Chapel even though — and let the people say amen — I finished my Convo credit. My wise little brother put it this way the other day while I stress-vented to him about senior year being over, not knowing where to spend my time, my formal dress looking different from the picture online and other such important things: “Don’t live these last weeks worrying about how you are living them. You’ve had such a good run here. Live the way you have been this whole time. You can savor the time while you live, you know.” Speak to my soul, will you, little brother?
Let us live these last weeks intentionally, perhaps clinging to our bits of Pepperdine. Our own bits, our own pieces of this place. You have them, I know you do. These bits may be the magic of Alumni Park at dusk, Taco Tuesday, the fish tank in the KSC or, as it is for me, the people I live with or whatever else has made your Pepperdine experience. Let us fight the temptation or even the expectation that we will fade away, becoming irrelevant against the larger looming threat of the “real world.” That real world will be upon us before we know it, true, but I know that I would be remiss if I spent these last twenty days or so worrying about what is already going to happen. Instead, I want to soak and savor in the Pepperdine-isms. My little brother was right: It’s been a good run. Let us cross that stage with the calm content that we finished the good run still running.
Follow Taylor Nam on Twitter: @nam_nam330