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Letter to the Seniors

Haley Gadzik, Whitman College, Class of 2016

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Dearest Class of 2017,

Man, y’all are in for a trip! Like straight up you are in for some weird times! I would know, I am almost an entire 365 days out from where you all are right now, which makes me very knowledgeable and experienced. You can trust me and my wisdom–I am a 2016 grad.

Welcome to the ether. Immediate post-grad life is a strange time and probably nothing is going to make sense for a while. To demonstrate, here are some confidential excerpts from one recent grad’s personal journal following her graduation from Whitman College:

September 2016, upon moving to a new city:

“Hey girl, one day you’re gonna learn how to be exactly yourself in every environment and it’s gonna be sOo cOOl, and that day is definitely not today, but you’re getting closer, right??? Like yeah, I think right, I think you’re totally getting closer, way to go, you rule. You’re a strange human who gets nervous about strange things, but what the fuckin’ ever, that’s just who you have to continue to be right now. WHAtEvErrR. Gonna figure it out. Totally gonna. Take your time, be a scared little mouse, I mean–do what you gotta do, who am I to judge. Eat a lot of things that are good for you, or not good for you, like fuck it. WHATEVR. Go outside sometimes or don’t WHATEVER. ITS ALL GOOD, HOMES. YOU’RE NERDY AND WEIRD AND STILL FEELIN’ A LITTLE UNCOMFORTABLE, WHO CARES THAT’S SO NORMAL. FUHUHUHUUUUCK IT. YOU’RE A SCARED LITTLE MOUSE WHO’S GONNA GROW UP TO BE A BIGGER LESS SCARED MOUSE, I CAN”T WAIT FOR THAT. Just breathe. Buh. Reathe.”

And then later in March, dealing with some other fresh hell of life:

“you are going to be ok

you are going to be ok

you are going to be ok

you are goingto be ok

you are going to be ok

you are going to BE OK

you ARE, OK

you are going to be OKAY

youaregoingtobeokyouaregoingtobeokayyouaregoingto be okay, go to sleep Haley”

Clearly, nothing makes sense to this Whittie alum and she is doing her damn best to keep it together. And there is a pretty good chance you are about to be in the very same boat. Get ready for some concerted, fruitless soul-searching. Get ready to politely listen to unsolicited advice from every adult person you come into even minimal contact with (like me, right now, for example). Get ready to feel simultaneously entirely under-qualified and over-qualified for every position you consider applying for. Get ready to feel so existentially lost and exhausted by other people that you sit outside the shared kitchen space of your summer internship for a literal hour and fifteen minutes and accidentally watch an entire meteor shower all because you are craving Ritz Bits (filling made with real cheese), and there are people hanging out by the pantry, and the only thing stronger than your craving for Ritz Bits (NO high fructose corn syrup) is your need to not interact with other people, so you sit under the Milky Way and complacently watch upwards of twenty shooting stars and don’t have a single profound thought, because the only thing on your mind is how badly you want Ritz Bits (natural flavor with other natural flavor) and how you have no Ritz Bits (official cracker of U.S. soccer).

BUT, that being said, I hope you also get ready to allow your plans to change in delightful and unexpected ways, and to learn new patience with yourself, and to rest a bit after what was likely four years of invigorating but also grueling work. I hope you get ready to see long-term goals actualized and new ones illuminated. I hope that if those long term goals start to change or fall away, you don’t see it as some kind of failure or permanent abandonment of them, but an opportunity to explore a hunger for something new. You’ve got this, 2017. You are an amazing class of students and, even if you are indeed about to enter an indefinite haze of uncertainty and disorientation, those of us who are already in it are pretty excited for you to be out here with us. Best of luck and congratulations!

Much love,

Haley Gadzik

Whitman College, Class of 2016

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Letter to the Seniors