After a month and half trip to London, Oxford, and Boston, I stepped onto campus for the first time the entire summer for orientation day. A few hours in and some varying degrees of deja vu, we were giving the freshman advocacy a tour of school campus.
“And this is the senior wall,” one of my advocacy members said, swinging his arm out to the low wall that framed the senior claimed part of the quad, which had been for the most part of my high school life, untouchable. Every year, the senior wall painted over by the newly existing senior class to a new theme and style. This year, it had a timeline theme, working from a medieval castle on one end to a space rocket on the other, celebrating our school’s 100th year with the slogan, “One hundred never looked th15 good.” (With a not-so-subtle, ’15 inserted in there.)
“What is the senior wall?” A freshman pipped.
When that same question was asked in my freshman year orientation and I was looking up at the seniors, who towered not so much in size but rather confidence and comfortability, shrugged casually and said, “Senior property, underclassmen may be invited or welcomed onto senior quad, but they never touch the wall.” Another senior added, “If you touch the wall, Menlo is not responsible to whatever happens to you.”
Seniors always got the wall seats first of course, prime seats for anything happening by the student center, but it was almost always a shrug joke by seniors who couldn’t actually hurt or do anything to students who dared to defy those rules. Nevertheless, there was that need to challenge the seniors, and even when you sat on the wall and no one even looked your way or noticed or cared, something in the back said you were doing something “forbidden” and fun, just because it was the senior wall.
My class’ sophomore year, we caused an upset. About a few months in, based on a Facebook post on our class’ page, we crashed the junior quad and took over. The juniors at the time were not very happy. So now we are here on the senior quad. The senior quad is isolated from the rest. There are no lockers, no ping pong tables, no volleyball nets. We have our wall and we have ourselves. But in the end, I don’t think we really mind. After a senior retreat and four years together, we don’t really mind each other and don’t mind being in close range with only a wall and a bench–it’s not the wall that makes us seniors, it’s the seniors that make the wall.
In the end, we don’t really care if you want to touch the wall, try and challenge the status quo, or even walk on the wall. Because no matter what, we got one more year up our sleeves and we’re part of the senior class.The senior wall, is a place to rest, So matter how much you prance on the wall, sit on it, hang out on it, you’re just not yet a senior–and that’s okay, you’ll get there one day so enjoy the journey there.
A few weeks ago, I heard this story from a fellow senior, and we were impressed by the underclassmen. Everyone challenges the wall, but it’s another thing to have patience and understand what the wall means. An underclassman was walking on the top of the senior wall, fooling around and grinning, just because it was the senior wall and there he was challenging that in the way every underclassman did.
“Dude,” his friend called, “Get down from there.”
“It’s just the senior wall,” he said.
“Yeah, but man, RESPECT.”