The 26th of August marked my 17th “first day of school.” I know that deep in the caverns of my mom’s numerous photo albums there’s a very small Matt beaming a smile on his actual first day of school.
But this time I couldn’t even manage a first day selfie to send my mom. I know she’ll probably never let me live that down. Call me awful but I found it really difficult to care. I blamed senioritis at the time, but I’m starting to get some perspective now. This is my last year at JBU. Nostalgia beckons me and I find myself thinking about the people that made these years so incredible.
Danny Ahn was a Korean missionary in Kenya. When I met him he was sitting on his bed, holding his knees, looking thoroughly culture shocked. He gave me a very formal handshake. My first impression of him was a withdrawn, quiet, Korean kid. But our friendship was far from formal or quiet for that matter. He would inadvertently wake me up in the middle of the night with loud and angry Korean expletives. He had lost another match of League of Legends — a super popular computer game at the time — and I had lost another moment of precious sleep.
He would pick fights in our suite over ping-pong matches, Mario Party, dead fish and he would make us refer to him as our master.
Though there were lots of fights, I hated to see him return to Korea to fulfill his duty to the Korean Army. He said he’d come back when he was done. Instead he went to Australia to continue his studies. I wish I could punch him for lying to me.
Just outside of our suite in J. Alvin during freshman year, I found myself mesmerized by the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She had dolled herself up and gone out with her girlfriends, only to return back to campus to hang in the J. Alvin atrium. I tried talking to her, but she had cast a spell on me. My tongue swelled up, my palms got sweaty, and I discovered to be completely flabbergasted by this gorgeous girl.
Ashley and I are celebrating our two-year dating anniversary this September. As a certain Darcy once said to Elizabeth, “You have bewitched me body and soul” and, after all this time, I still find myself completely bewitched by her.
Four years ago I would have never imagined myself in such a joyous place. Senioritis has gotten the best of me a number of times already. But this pervasive feeling of joy lingers despite the apathy. JBU hasn’t just given me the best four years of my life, it’s prepared me to love every moment of what the future might hold for my relationships, my career and my relationship with the Savior. Every moment I walk on this campus, it reminds me that the present is a gift to be seized. No more senioritis, I choose joy.