Bridging the gap

As I reflect on last week, I am chuckling at myself. The essentially homework-less, stress-less, dare I say “fun” beginning to my year was not destined to continue past week four. It’s fine, you’re fine, we’re all going to be fine. I promise this week’s column isn’t going to be a hackneyed, “woe is me” diatribe where I lament about the responsibilities of being a Stevens student. We’re not there… yet!

I do want to share some thoughts though, and I must thank my roommate Johanna Pluymers for giving me inspiration for this week’s installment of Senioritis. Let us start with the famous words of Tyler the Creator: “Who dat boy?”

Let’s amend those lyrics a bit, given that Stevens is now repping an approximately 30% female undergraduate population (that’s another topic for a different week). Where am I going with this? This week, I’m talking about all of the students whom I pass on my way down Whittpenn Walk, navigate around while in Pierce Dining Hall on my weekly campus tours, and sit in close proximity to in the comforts of Samuel C. Williams Library. Who are you, you eclectic, seemingly unknown, loud, and younger versions of myself? Where do you all come from?

As the semester charges on, our majors continue to concentrate, both in terms of completing tasks and adhering to one another. The senior students are focusing on Senior Design, Research, or Thesis—or considering the typical Stevens student profile, a combination of two or all three—and I have begun to notice small, yet discernible campus lacunae emerging. Counter to what I expected, the younger students are beginning to fill in the gaps with fervor and speed which I am happy to see. Getting involved as a young student was the best decision I made at Stevens, but now as a senior member of the undergraduate community, I can feel a disconnect between the 4/4’s, 4/5’s, and 5/5’s and our younger  1/4 and 1/5 counterparts. We’re all fractions on this finite number line, but only the “end behavior” is predictable—the in-between is grey, undefined, and hard to map.

It seems as though I am in a quandary: how do I connect with the younger students? We are at different points in our educational careers. The freshman student, involved in five clubs and taking upwards of 18 credits, comes into contact with someone like me, involved in two organizations, trying desperately to figure out Plans A, B, C and D, and needing to fortify my current relationships for the inevitable separation that lies ahead. How do we reconcile this? Is it possible?

I’d like to argue, yes. I think I take part too often in the concept of the “anti-social social club”; I love engaging with others, but when given the choice to go beyond my social sphere, I often retract into a realm I am more comfortable in. I’m in the mood for a challenge, and maybe the thousands upon thousands of weekly Stute subscribers—hey, the Stute is making moves!—will join me to fight our inner anti-social selves. Let’s find a freshman student, ask how the first General Chemistry exam went, and maybe, just maybe, this void will slowly fill itself.