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Seniority

by Julia Sneden

Remember when the word 'senior' was something one anticipated with ill-concealed eagerness, as in 'senior prom' or 'graduating senior' or 'senior partner'?

I can recall long hours of captivity in the study hall of my high school, thinking I would never get to my senior year, when I would be allowed to study independently in the library. In college, we all waited eagerly for our senior year when we would actually be allowed to have a car on campus, never mind that most of us didn't own one. And during that last year, we could blame all our troubles on a well-known affliction called 'senioritis', which was identifiable enough to garner sympathy, but amorphous enough to cover just about any behavior, including the dip in the final semester's grades when everyone had stopped caring.

Nowadays it's hard to feel the old thrill, when 'senior' is jammed up against 'citizen', that smarmy euphemism for old person. It's a term that's not easy to love. After all, 'senior' is only two letters away from 'senile'. It sounds like a phrase originated by obsequious young bureaucrats eager to avoid offense, with advice from psychologists trying to lever our self-esteem. 

When I hear friends who are experiencing momentary memory loss refer wryly to having a 'senior moment', I am greatly cheered.  There, my friends, is a properly irreverent use of the term. 

Which is why, when I read the mission statement for this web site, I felt my heart lift a bit. It's time to put a little fun and pride back into the word 'senior', and to claim it for ourselves.

Just don't think too hard about what graduation entails!

 

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