It's surreal to think that we're less than two weeks out from the end of the semester - my last semester! I've had a few days of relaxation, but now it's back to the grind with one last burst of energy for my thesis presentation (or defense), which will be on Sunday. At this point, I know I technically know everything I need to say, but it's making a sensible PowerPoint presentation and presenting the highlights of my research in a limited amount of time that's the real challenge. But soon, very soon, it'll be done for real!
I think that turning in my thesis made me incredibly spontaneous. On Sunday afternoon, a friend and I were able to pick up a few tickets for a concert with Lil Yachty and Khalid at UMass Amherst that evening - and I went with it, because why not? I'm usually a huge planner, with things figured out days in advance, and can get a little melodramatic when my well-laid plans get disrupted last-minute, so this was a huge step for me. I had a ton of fun - I didn't really know many Lil Yachty songs, but I knew Khalid's hits and a few of the slightly lesser-known songs, and hearing him sing in person was pretty incredible because he's just inherently a great singer.
(Here, too, I became really aware of the differences between Amherst College and UMass (or any other large college, really). There were way too many people to count milling about the Mullins Center, where the concert was held, and the mass exodus from the event space after the concert was a huge source of traffic for all the unlucky cars that happened to be passing along that road at that exact same time.)
There were many other fun events this past week, too. We just had Admitted Students Weekend, which was the first such weekend in my memory that also featured terrible weather. Usually, it's a running joke that the weather gets better solely for the benefit of the prospective students - but no such luck this year. It's still cold, rainy, even snowy at times. (Note to prospective students: this is not normal! Usually, it's much warmer by now.)
Also, we had City Streets, one of my favorite food-related events at the college because the dining hall sets up different "stalls" or "stations" featuring bites of food from various cultures and regions. Among my favorites were the pork belly "tacos" (honestly, they were just baos), sushi with tuna, crepes, and endless ice cream from a local creamery.
Yesterday, I went to a more sobering event: there was a vigil in memory of a student who had died recently, who was in my year, set to graduate. We've had several tragic losses on campus these last weeks/months. Yesterday's event was also intended by his parents to be a celebration of his life. Several of his friends, also my friends, spoke. I think it ultimately brought a lot of comfort to them to remember their good friend through reliving a lot of their memories together. Additionally, though I only knew him through one class, and some others didn't know him much at all, I think the huge supportive turnout really brought comfort to his parents through their pain, to see how much he was loved. Our college is one small enough that any such loss is keenly felt through the whole student body, and I think they understood, too.