i’m in the class of 2023. this means that i spent only six full months on campus before getting kicked off due to the pandemic. now i’m back on campus, but more than a year has elapsed, and i’m a junior now.
this is disconcerting for numerous reasons. firstly, i feel like i don’t have enough experiences to warrant me being a junior. why am i perceived as wiser than sophomores and freshman when i barely know my way around campus better than them? when i’ve experienced zero semesters at MIT with grades? i feel like i know about as much about navigating campus life as the sophomores who spent their COVID spring semester at MIT.
i’m really not used to being “older” and “wiser.” i took classes with people two or three years older than me in high school, so i was always the youngest. in my experiences abroad a few years ago, i would hang out with college students and even it wasn't creepy do not worry i was the i was the entertaining, outgoing, very young one, always.
i settled into that dynamic when i got to MIT, relying heavily on the upperclassmen in my living group and clubs. i felt comfortable with the big/little dynamics in some of my social groups, enjoying having people older and more experienced than me to show me the ropes academically and socially.
now i’m the big! i have four casually adopted and i’m the one giving them advice! i’m the one running events and helping people integrate into social groups! i’m the one telling freshmen what they should do and what they shouldn’t waste their time on!
how the hell did i get here? why do i have any semblance of authority? why do people think i have my shit together more than they do??
it’s so unnerving.
i feel it the most strongly with my living group since i’m one of only two classes of people who experienced our community before our dorm went offline for renovations. naturally, the freshmen and sophomores we recruited are curious about traditions and eager to integrate into the culture, and since i’m a aka exec member i’m responsible for helping guide them. it makes me feel old.
i wonder what it’ll take for me to feel like a junior. i feel like my growth on many fronts was stunted by the pandemic, and that i stagnated while living in a house with the same six people for my whole sophomore year. when i remember how much i respected the people who were juniors in my freshman year, i can only laugh at the thought of someone viewing me in the same light. it seems absurd.
every class of students was impacted by the pandemic differently. Audrey discusses the sense of purgatory i feel in this post. some ’22s i’ve spoken to, who jumped from being half-sophomores to seniors, have reflected on how eerie it is to have gone from being underclassmen to the oldest people at this school. that’s just how time works, i guess
i stopped caring about my imposter syndrome by the end of freshman year, but being back in-person as a non-junior is causing a bit of a resurgence. somehow, the more certain i start to feel about the things i do, the less confidence i begin to have that they’re right. it’s an endless cycle. i just want to finally feel like i’m in my penultimate year of college and not my first.
- it wasn't creepy do not worry back to text ↑
- casually adopted back to text ↑
- aka exec member back to text ↑