I’ve spent most of the last four years in the Medill student lounge on the second floor of MFC. As cozy as it is, there’s always enough room for three different NBN section meetings to take place, and people are constantly walking in and out throughout the day on Sundays. A poster of All the President's Men hangs on the wall, lined up next to other posters with movie titles I can’t remember. There’s also a vending machine that’s served me dinner on a few occasions, along with a vending machine for coffee that I’ve never seen anyone use.
The door is the thing that gives the room as much personality, and it’s also the thing that brought me the most embarrassment freshman year when I joined NBN. It’s this huge, transparent door that lets you see everything from the inside and the outside, and the handle doesn’t let you open the door if you pull it. Everyone has stood outside this door, panicking because it’s not opening, and then looked up to see every head in the room turned toward you. Luckily, there’s always someone signaling you to push. Someone should make a sign or something, but then we wouldn’t have this unwritten NBN rite of passage.
It’s this image, of everyone cluttered together in this room, having several conversations about pretty much everything, that I’ll miss the most. I’ll miss it just as much as I’ll miss walking along the Lakefill, playing soccer with friends and, dare I say it, shuffling to class at 9 a.m. in Midwest winter weather.
When I came to Northwestern, I had my mind set on checking off certain boxes to create a perfect college career, a perfect path for my life. I don’t know why a lot of us think this way, especially as naive freshmen with no knowledge of what is to come, but reality is a pill that gets tougher to swallow the longer you hold on to it. For me, it took failure and rejection to snap out of that mindset, as well as the fear that I was going to look back at my time at Northwestern and hate what I saw. All that time stressing about not getting that perfect internship, not getting that leadership position, not getting into that club? It didn’t sound like a waste of time to me four years ago, but it certainly was.
That’s not to say that I’ve unlocked all the answers to living your Northwestern experience to the fullest. For some people that looks like spending as little time as possible on campus and learning abroad, and for others it’s never wanting to leave because you just can’t get enough. I’d like to think I’m a balance of the two, especially because of how much I want to be back in MFC — with my luck I’ll forget how the door works the second I grab the handle. Some days (*cough* every winter quarter) I wanted to leave Evanston and never come back, but every time I’m not there, I’m always picturing what I would be doing if I was. I think a part of me will always wish I was back on campus.