April 6, 2008 As an underclassman on the Hill, I never thought much about seniors. As a freshman, whatever a senior said was truth. Whenever a senior wanted something from you, you gave it to them. They were the students on campus that actually looked like "adults" (now, as a senior, I no longer think we look like adults at all). They were the only ones on campus who were old enough to drink, the only guys able to grow a full beard. In short, seniors were very removed from my way of life.
Now, as graduation nears, I must admit that senior year has been by far the best. The pub is about thirty feet from my doorstep, and there are friends to be found there almost every night. The classes have shockingly gotten a lot easier. The housing has gotten a lot better. And now the administration is finding more and more reasons to throw us parties. Nope, being a senior isn't too bad at all.
The first of these parties was thrown about a month ago by the trustees. We received fancy invitations in our mailboxes and we had to R.S.V.P. The invitation called it the senior class "champagne toast." I thought we would walk into the Bristol Hub, grab a glass of champagne, say "we're almost done," and walk out to finish our homework. I was wrong.
As soon as I walked in the room, I realized I was underdressed. I was wearing some dress I got at H&M on sale, with boots. The boys were all in suits or at least ties. I heard a rumor that really ambitious kids even bring resumes in order to network with the trustees. A slew of trustees were waiting for us, eager to talk about the old days at the college and treat us to an open bar. There were no complaints from us. Beyond the monolithic terms of "trustee" and "investment banker," they were also surprisingly human. I remember thinking, "oh, these are the guys who run the show... they're actually really nice."
The event had a table of gourmet cheeses and chilled jumbo fruit cocktails. I ate about six shrimp and was very satisfied. Quinn, never one to pass up free food, ate twenty-four. One of the trustees toasted us, called us one of the "finest classes the College has ever seen," and we were on our way. Needless to say, after a few glasses of wine there was no more homework to be done that night, and the party moved to the Little Pub.
The champagne toast was fun, and I assumed we were done with schmoozing until graduation. Wrong again. Wednesday, the President of the college had a departmental dinner at the President's house. The English, Chinese and Math departments were invited to, you guessed it, schmooze with our professors and the President. Then on Friday, the alumni held a similar event.
In talking with several alumni and trustees at these events, they all say similar things. That they loved Hamilton, but the facilities we have today are stellar compared to what it used to be. Everyone seems really excited about all of the new construction on campus: the Science Center, the Fitness Center and now the renovation of KJ on the Kirkland side of campus. Also, several alumni told me that they would not have been admitted to Hamilton if admissions were as competitive as they are today.
Graduating isn't so bad when you're given so many chances to celebrate it. I'm not expecting any more invites to schmooze-fests, but if they come my way, you can expect I'll be there.