I was not that excited to come back to school after that long and wonderful winter break. I’m sure that most of you would agree.

I miss my wonderful friends that I spent the break with, and for you it could be your loving family. In a sense, we miss the good times. The video games, the movies, the 14-hour-plus sleeps, all those little things we never have enough time to do in college. I hope my fellow Denisonians all had a much needed well-deserved rest.

There was one scary thing happened to me at the end of the break. It was silly, but the more I think about it, the more its importance bears on me. I was on my way back from the airport. Sunday, Jan. 13 was rainy, and President’s Drive was looking bored and gray, just like when I first got to The Hill more than 16 months ago. Oh, The Hill has seen a good part of my one year and a half here, all the ups and downs, all the cheers and tears. And, strangely, I thought about myself becoming a junior right after this semester.

Time passes really quickly if you think about how long you have been doing something – and I know by the end of this semester, I will be imagining myself at the graduation ceremony. In retrospect, however, that might not have been the scariest thing.

Each of us will have spent at least 36 months of our life at the end of our Denison careers. Four years may seem mathematically insignificant to our lifetime, but it is, on the other hand; I bet most of us will look back and think to ourselves, “If it were not for those four years, I would not be what I am today.” And I think to myself, the thing I would be most afraid of is wasting that time.I usually talk to people about best experiences and memories in life, and I like to call those important years “the times of our lives.”

I had an unforgettable time and innumerable memories in high school. I still call it the best time of my life until very recently. After this time back on campus, I know I am ready to put these four years into my “times of my life” portfolio.

Four years is all it takes for this institution to make us what we later will be. I like to refer to Denison with two words: either “institution” or “community” – and they are what Denison actually defines itself as. Denison is not only a , it is an inclusive environment of all the people and what they bring to the college. It is the courage, the creativity. It is the diversity, the integrity. It is the talent, the dedication.

That sounds cliche, but look at everybody around you, that is true. I know that it is true for the dedicated chairs and volunteers of Denison Community Association (DCA) who go out every week to shelters, help build houses, spend their precious time with less fortunate children. It is true for the Denison Campus Governance Association (DCGA) senators who give away hours each week to bring about large scale changes that come from students’ concerns. It is true for any hard-working member of our various sport teams who spends hours and hours under the sun, and any Denisonians devoting hours of their time to make this campus better piece by piece in their organizations. Well, and I can be sure that it is true for The Denisonian staff I love working with in Knapp 108 every Sunday close to midnight and Monday till publication at 4:30 p.m.

That is the inclusive sense of “institution.” With the people you meet, interact and share with everyday, and those whose work you are enjoying the result of, that is the “community” part of this college.

So, back to why I said this is the time that is going to define our future selves (although you might have noticed, it has already been doing so for some months we’ve been here). It is what you learn that is going to change you. To learn, is not necessarily the courses you take. It can be though. A lot of people coming into Denison not knowing what they want to study here or do in the world out there. We take some courses we are offered with the answer about our capabilities and interests, thus the passions and fortes that we will carry forward with. I know courses at Denison changed me: It took me a year to realize Communication and Computer Science was it, not Chemistry (although I still like to look at medicine labels and look up the chemicals).

But it was not solely the courses. It was also the organizations that I was a part of. They are something closest to a real working environment, where you will be communicating with a lot of people and working toward a goal. They give you insights into your organizational skills and extracurricular interests. They will also confirm your academic and professional interests. Or they can be for your sheer passion and personality. Without the organizations and wonderful people in them, I would not be who I am today.

Ah, I’m missing a good part of the college experience—friends. I believe some of us find our best friends here, the friends that we will want to keep until the end of time. Or some friends, who we may potentially head towards a venture business with. Fortunately, I have found the friends that I know I want to keep in touch with for the years to come, no matter what. Some just “clicked” right in with my personality. I’ve shared some of the deepest and most meaningful conversations with some and some simply inspire me to move forward just by their energy and the work that they do. Some, for the sheer joy of Whit’s?

And that was only 16 months! What about 36? Honestly, I am excited to wake up to the amount of time left.

This is the last semester for some of us. It is a change of tone, but it is sad to me to see some of my senior friends are going for the easiest courses available and giving up everything, either intentionally or just according to the “senior default mode.” I cannot say what it would feel like at that point, but wouldn’t it worth a stab at this point to project my view? You have four months left! You have a good 32-plus months on the Hill already. It must have been boring at times, and maybe it is just the time to wind things down now. But why not at east try thinking about what you can do with these four months? I am sure, there are a lot of horizons that you have not explored. They can give you the experience you never had before, the viewpoints you were never exposed to, and the interesting people you never have a chance to meet. Try a class? There’s still time this week to add or drop. Try out an organization or two, we are holding the Winter Involvement Fair on Feb. 10-13. It doesn’t hurt to at least think about trying, does it?This is the best time of our lives. I hope each of us will have our own way of making the best of it.

Or, why not try writing or come to edit with The Denisonian?