Maddie De Pree is a Junior, Vol. 12: Whoa, I’m Almost A Senior

By: Maddie De Pree, Columnist

Last night, I went downtown with my friend, Sarah, to grab some dinner. As we walked around, I remembered how beautiful Greenville is in the springtime. Everyone, it seemed, had come out to celebrate the arrival of warm weather: kids were skipping, couples laughing, street musicians playing and end-of-the-worlders were giving their bizzare sermons. Sarah and I ran into several groups of high schoolers dressed for prom, the girls’ running down the sidewalks barefooted, high heels dangling loosely from their fingers as their dates trailed behind.

“This feels weird,” I said to Sarah.

“How so?”

“That we’re almost seniors,” I said.

We were sitting in Falls Park eating ice cream from Spill the Beans. I looked at the grass and thought back to the spring of my senior year in high school and the visit I took to Furman. I had come on Accepted Students Day with my dad and stepmom. I remember going to an “ice cream social” downtown with my parents, trying to mingle with some of the other prospective students and parents in Spill the Beans. During that ice cream social in 2016, I pictured myself living in Greenville for four years, attending Furman, making a life here. I wasn’t sure how it would all work. Would I make friends? Would I click with any of the departments? I remember looking at the fountains outside of Spill the Beans and seeing that the water had been dyed purple, which for some reason was very hilarious.

Truthfully, I was scared out of my mind when I committed to Furman. I hadn’t experienced the overwhelming feeling of “falling in love” that other students had described. Everyone else seemed so confident in their decision to come here. Most of the kids in my Accepted Student group described Furman as their “dream school.” I didn’t have a “dream school” during my college search, but I figured that Furman, despite my hesitations, would be a good fit.

And boy, was I correct.

It’s strange to look back on Furman as I close out my junior year. At the risk of sounding seriously trite, I was a different person when I came here. I thought I would marry my high school sweetheart (we broke up within the month); I thought I would major in History (I declared English and never looked back); I thought I wouldn’t make any friends (I did). I’ve enjoyed so many incredible opportunities at this school, and I’m about to enter the summer as one of the Furman Metropolitan Fellows—another huge honor that I would never have thought myself capable of receiving when I first arrived. In short, Furman has exceeded every single one of my expectations.

All this is to say that college is an incredible blip on the map of one’s life. When I was about to graduate high school, four years seemed like the longest interval in the world; now, I can hardly believe how quickly it’s gone by. It’s strange to think that I’ll be wrapping up my final year of undergrad next spring. I have no idea where I’ll end up, but I know it’ll be somewhere good.

After we finished our ice creams, Sarah and I walked back toward her car. We stopped by the Mast General Store on our way back, and I picked up a bag of lemon drops — the famously sweet/sour candy. We drove back to campus in silence, each sucking on a lemon drop, which seemed like an appropriate end to the evening: bittersweet.

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