Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Reflections: Emily Beloof

No one knows what to expect at college. Despite “understanding” gained from siblings’ stories and movies like “Animal House” there is no way to prepare yourself: except, perhaps, to bring a condom. I arrived here with armloads of clothes, a matching dorm room bedroom set from Target and zero condoms.

Dropped off like the rest of the lost puppies on the curb side of a residence hall, I watched my parents drive away and walked into my new independent life. Except that someone cleaned the bathroom I used. And all of my meals were prepared. And the longest paper I wrote was five pages.

Things have changed during my four years here; now I clean my own bathroom, my bedspread is from India where I studied abroad, and my thesis was 10 times longer than my final Core paper.

My sister, the other Beloof, was a senior when I was a freshman. Finding sanctuary in a crowd that was less captivated by the novelty of no parents and countless beers, I bonded with a group of her close friends. After a recent reflection on my own graduation, I e-mailed these alumni asking them to send me lists of things I must do before I left Whitman and Walla Walla.
Unsurprisingly, the lists rarely encouraged me to work harder academically, but emphasized the importance of everything else about Whitman, specifically the friendships that are forged. While reminiscing one friend wrote, “Towards the end, little in your classes will be as wonderful, important or more memorable than the time you spend there with your friends. So skip when you want, stay up late when you want, and have no shame in enjoying every minute of it.” He is right: above all else it is the people at Whitman that make it such a difficult place to leave.

I will miss my core classmates, who have come together for brunches since our initial bonding during freshman year. I will miss the generosity of professors who are supportive and exceptionally willing to go out of their way for students. I will miss my women, those that I bonded with four years ago, who have shown me unimaginable love and support during my time at Whitman.

I will miss those that live in the music building and get hot for modulations and Beethoven symphonies. I will miss running next to section mates at the gym. I will miss the hot chocolate at the Patisserie and dollar slice Tuesdays at Sweet Basil.
I will miss splitting 11 pitchers between seven people in a night that left my face and stomach hurting from so much laughter. I have swum through so many days full of rich experiences that my fingers are shriveled and I am want for air. It is hard to get let go.

I am finally beginning to understand how privileged I have been to spend four years among such amazing people. Perhaps it is appropriate that only now, at the end, I realize the treasures of this place. While unfair, it is not surprising that I can only recognize my deep gratitude for Whitman immediately preceding my departure.

There is no turning back once we cross that stage and shake the omnipotent hand of President Bridges. With a handshake and an autographed piece of paper we will officially conclude four decadent years at Whitman. We shed this institution and depart from our friends to move forward into our futures of adulthood.

Although some of us will move on together, most will scatter and our next chapters will begin in hundreds of different places. In this moment of pre-departure I am torn between where I am going and where I have been. What lies ahead is uncharted territory, what has passed can only be accessed by memories, and in the now I find myself fighting to retain moments that are slipping too quickly into history.

“I remember thinking about how fast it all went,” one of my friends recalled, “like sand in a fist.” Quicker I would say, like the skip of a heartbeat: and just as strange. We travel into darkness, straight into the unknown future, in the hopes of shedding light on the corners of the world we reach. Shine on you crazy diamond.

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