Attending DePauw kind of like winning the lottery

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It seems like just yesterday I was among those lanyard-wearing, skinny people in South Quad who couldn’t even fathom saying the horrid “S” word.
Sadly, I am no longer a first-year. Instead, I’m the oldest kid sitting in French 101 trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am…a senior. If you haven’t yet experienced my “senior year anxiety is here” emotions, just wait until an email address ending with “2017” pops into your inbox. Woof.
This semester, my friend Meagan Combs, junior, is taking the Honor Scholar seminar, “The Power of Place” with Professor of Journalism Ethics Robert Steele. In this class, students read about and discuss the role of place in storytelling, ultimately asking, “What does place mean?”
Meagan and I began discussing place as it relates to time, and what exactly denotes a “place.” Does it have to be physical? Does it have to be real? Meagan mentioned being in a place at DePauw. I was thinking small, like our duplex or the Julian Science and Math Center. She meant it more figuratively. What about being at a place in your life?
Senior year is a scary place. Everyone who knows you is constantly on your a** about what is next for you: Are you going to get a job? Where are you going to live? Maybe graduate school? These questions are a piece of cake for the folks who have even the smallest inkling of what they want to do with their life. I’m not one of them.
This summer, working as a bartender in Carmel, Ind., I met Ian, a lonely Englishman who asked where I attended school.
When I answered DePauw he replied, “Good school!”
I was beaming with pride, “I feel lucky to go there.”
“You’re not lucky to go there.” Ian looked me in the eyes. “Don’t say that. You worked hard to get there. If you had won the lottery, then you’d be lucky.”
Until now, I had not thought much about what Ian said to me. I guess what I meant to say was that I feel fortunate to go to DePauw. I feel proud to attend a school where hard work is made easier by an eagerness to engage in the brilliance around me. I feel like I have won the lottery by attending this university (except the whole not getting paid part).
There is an incredible energy that fills up the DePauw “bubble.” “Espirit de corps,” which translates from French to team spirit, is defined as “feelings of loyalty, enthusiasm and devotion to a group among people.” I think the “espirit” of the DePauw community is what makes it so fantastic. 
The truth is, being a senior in college makes you feel like part of your world is ending, and it’s hard to wrap your mind around that. But if this last year is even half as good as my first three, I know I will graduate in May one proud Tiger, even if I have no idea what comes next.
In the meantime, I’ll appreciate DePauw and show pride for our achievements (cough, Princeton Review party school ranking, cough). If I can offer any advice to my fellow students, it’s this: Live in the moment. Be happy! And every day, do something that makes you smile. Unless what makes you happy is peeing on the boulder, because that is gross.

– Dickman is a senior english writing major from Zionsville, Ind.