Theme II: A Grain of Salt, “What I wish I had known” from a Senior

J MelendrezheadshotBy Jordan Melendrez, CAS ’15

The cliché way of putting it, is that hindsight is always 20/20. But that comes with being a senior.

The one thing I wish I would have known prior to attending NYU: how to make time pass slower.

As an 18-year-old, fresh-faced from high school, time had always seemed to lag. High school trudged on the same way you attended class: grudgingly. Those four years dragged on stubbornly until graduation, the pinnacle of your adolescence.

But then college started. Welcome Week flew by, and everyone added hundreds of phone numbers to their contacts because they were desperately trying to network (Kelsey from Hayden Residence Hall, I still have your number).

Classes started, and they were more fruitful and interesting than ever before. Professors were more engaging. Your peers were intellectually stimulating.

Fall semester turns into spring semester, and you find yourself looking forward to returning to your New York friends after breaks. You finally find your niche, your clubs, your coffee shops, your study places, your loves, your hates.

Freshman year turns into sophomore year. You study abroad, spend all of your money, but an empty wallet still doesn’t bother you — you live in New York city, after all. Junior year starts. Internships are hectic. Jobs are crazier. The next thing you know, you’re 21, and you’re celebrating at a bar because your friend was just hired. For a job. A real-person job. Somehow, you only have 100 days left of undergrad.

I know what you’re thinking, fake ID-wielding, invincible-feeling, underclassmen: “I still have plenty of time.” Of course you do. I only urge you to learn how to slow it down for yourself.

Whenever my family checked in on me freshman year, they always asked if I needed anything. I always responded, “More time.” That was a silly thing to say. I had — have — all the time in the world. It’s just a matter of controlling it. And, it’s a bit different than the time management your professors preach.

In her essay “The Opposite of Loneliness,” Marina Keegan, the Yale University student who tragically died in a car accident after her college graduation in 2012, wrote, “The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we must not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”

When you’re walking up Broadway, engulfed by the city and the millions of people, slow down. When you’re studying with friends at 3 a.m., pause. You’re in New York City. Time moves faster here. Don’t let it. Don’t let the New York minute get the best of you.

The real world feels like it’s just one step away, and in a way, it is. But you’re here at NYU, and while your graduation date is marked, remember that possibilities are endless.You can stretch time. You can conquer it.

I’m sorry to conclude that I don’t hold the answer about HOW to slow down your time. It’s for you to discover. Consider this your four-year, three-year, two-year or 100-day warning that time is precious. It’s not about, and it’s never about, how much time you have. It’s how you spend it.

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