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Senior year, no regrets

Thomas La | Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This is it. The moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life. Tonight is the night I turn 21. When the clock strikes 12:00 and my Macbook calendar tells me it’s finally Feb. 3, 2012, I’ll let out a sigh of relief while casually sipping a legal cup of Franzia. Along with that sigh, though, I’ll shed a tear or two. You see, I am the second-to-last last senior to turn 21 (Pat Coveney is last, in case you were wondering), and that is not an easy title to give up. You don’t go all your life as the youngest person in the room just to be put on the same playing field as everyone else by some legal threshold. My time is here, but I’m not ready to go. What if I didn’t have to?

Today is Groundhog Day, after all. What if, like Bill Murray, I kept reliving today over and over again? Wouldn’t that be ironic? What if I never turned 21 and became forever stuck in a state of underage youth, reveling in my inability to buy girls drinks or set foot inside the Backer? What if I never had to be an adult, never had to grow up?

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to turn 21. I’ve been looking forward to this day since I learned the effects of alcohol when mixed with fun. But there’s a part of me that’s refusing to let go. Besides, there are plenty of advantages to being underage while everyone else is raging hard. Big test coming up and have to study? Oops sorry, can’t go out because I’m not 21. “Hey can you buy me a case for my dorm party this weekend?” Nope, sorry, I’m not 21. Although perks of being underage are nice, my hesitation stems from a deeper realization.

The longer I think about it, the more I realize that tonight is not about me. It’s not about manhood. It’s not about getting wasted. It’s not even about Club Fever. No, tonight is about the Class of 2012. Tonight is about our collective 21st birthday. It’s a sobering thought, graduation. Some of us are sprinting to the finish, excited at the prospect of what awaits us. The rest of us are going to be dragged out by our ankles swearing that these were the best four years of our lives. (Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s only downhill from here).

However we choose to look back on our time here, let’s not look back in regret. As exciting as dorm parties and off-campus ragers may be, an entirely new world awaits us. We’re legal now. Let’s make the most of what life’s proverbial Mulligan’s and Kildare’s have to offer us.

So, seniors, let this final semester serve as our birthday party. Let’s celebrate like we’ll never get a chance at being 20 years old again. Climb Stepan. Run the Holy Half. Go to Feve sober. (Warning: Some regret may be involved). Because when we’re stepping into the stadium come May, when we’re minutes away from turning 21, wouldn’t it be nice not to have to ask, “What if?”


Contact Thomas La at [email protected]

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.