Liminality: relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition
In my first year as an anthropology major, I learned about liminality. I became obsessed with the concept. We have a tendency to rush from one stage of life to the next and neglect the strange time-period in between them. You aren’t quite graduated, but you’re in your final semester of high school. You can see something on the horizon, but you aren’t sure what it looks like yet.
This sense of anxiety and slow-moving time accompanies my version of liminality. In high school, college, and my working life, February and March always seem like a season of waiting. No matter where I am, I feel restless. Some of that comes from the weather. As someone used to short winters and humid summers, I eagerly await the first day I won’t have to wear my winter coat. I also believe some of this anxious energy lingers from high school, when I was waiting on college decisions. I still have stress dreams about waking up too late for the SAT, which has changed quite a bit since I took it. I can remember how I felt waiting for a big envelope from a school that excited me.
Seniors, this time is confusing. You might have heard back from some schools already, or maybe you are checking your email daily for that first decision email. Although this is an ambiguous time—likely knowing you’ll be heading off to college in the fall, but not knowing where—try not to get lost in the haze of waiting.
My college stress almost eclipsed some of my favorite moments of senior year. I was so keen to jump to college that I nearly forgot about the people surrounding me. This is your final semester with your high school peers; don’t take that for granted. Enjoy late night sleepovers with your friends, chatting with your favorite teachers in the mornings, and dressing up for prom. Embrace this liminal phase.
And while you’re practicing patience, know that we are waiting, too. We are in a liminal phase in our admissions work—building a class that is not complete yet—and I find myself anxiously looking forward to April and beyond. We can’t wait to see our admitted students at Jumbo Days. We are anticipating meeting some of you again in the fall when you matriculate. We are excited to watch the Class of 2023 grow throughout their time at Tufts. But I’m getting ahead of myself, I aren’t? I, too, have to step back and appreciate the process, knowing that this time of reading and waiting is paving the way for the excitement that comes next. I promise to lean into the wait if you do.
Photo Credit: David Michalczuk, Flickr