Today I did something pretty crazy: I registered for my final semester of classes at Drake University. Okay, so maybe crazy is a relative term. But honestly, it’s hard to believe that I’m nearing the end of my college career and selecting the courses that will cement my Drake education. And yet, here I am. In the grand tradition of senior year nostalgia, it’s only natural that my last registration should cause me to reflect on all my previous registration periods. The stress, the worry, the late night snacks, and the early morning cramming, praying to get first pick of classes have all come flooding back. And in this reflection, two things have become clear:
I’m still the same student I always was.
Planning for the long-term has never been my strong suit, so picking out classes months in advance has always been a little counter-intuitive. Nonetheless, I acquiesce to the demands of higher education bureaucracy by planning and plotting, projecting and outlining my courses months, and even years, ahead of time. But that doesn’t mean it will necessarily go smoothly, and in fact, it never has. Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. And that I certainly am. I will inevitably wait until the last moments to pick out courses, thereby leaving my future in the hands of a sleep-deprived version of myself high on sugar and pure panic. And yet, it always turns out okay. I’m not saying I won’t eventually face the impetus of change, forcing me to responsibly plan out my life decisions, but that day is not today. Mac Miller once said “I Am Who I Am”, just as Popeye told us “I Yam What I Yam.” I stand by both of these gentleman as the same person I was when I began my Drake journey four years ago.
And yet, I’m so much different.
I started the process of registering for classes at Drake with my checklists in hand. I knew what I needed to take to get my two degrees and thought of little else than following my prescribed course listings. Now in my senior year, that outlook is almost unfathomable. I’m not saying that the courses dictated by my majors aren’t essential, helpful, and enlightening, because they are. But what I’ve come to realize is that the best learning experiences I’ve had at Drake have come from me pushing boundaries and stepping outside my academic comfort zone. So these days, the checklist is less of a rulebook and more of a guide. This semester, I’ve chosen courses that will challenge me and force me grow, courses I probably never would have picked for myself four years ago. I’ll be tackling subjects such as colonialism in Africa, women in the Renaissance, European Nationalism, and magazine production, not necessarily because I have to take them, but because I want to. Because I’m genuinely excited for my last chance to soak up all the Drake knowledge I can. And yeah, that might be the definition of a nerd, but I think it’s also the definition of personal, professional, and academic growth. So, there.