From seniors to citizens: Normal-ish

Graphic by Aiden Menchaca / The Tufts Daily

Senior spring to social security. On the hill to over the hill. Graduation to … grandchildren? Here’s what seniors have to say before all is said and done.

This year, Christy Lano decided to adopt a cat. Instead, she fell for a dog.  

“There’s this dog I want to adopt … at a shelter right outside of Boston,” she said.  “That’s a big motivation for wanting to move back there.  It’s not necessarily the right time; I’m a lot younger than I wanted to be when adopting a dog, but he’s absolutely the right dog.”

Really, the swing from cat to dog exemplifies Lano’s senior year.  

“If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that you cannot plan for things,” she said. 

In the fall, Lano joined the rugby team. A mere month into practices, she suffered a serious concussion.  

“All of these things that I had planned for senior year just stopped happening,” she explained. 

Because of her concussion, Lano missed the first two senior bar nights, and COVID-19 cancelled all such nights to come.  

“[My concussion] helped me now with not knowing what’s ahead of me,” she said. “Things got back to normal-ish after two or three months, so I feel like I have a better handle on how to cope with the future being uncertain because that’s just been the theme of my senior year.”

During her concussion-induced isolation, Lano never knew how she would feel the next day, and the experience altered her outlook on the foggy days ahead.  

“I’m just trying to think about what I can control right now in terms of the future,” she said. “I just try to think about, like, the first job.”

Lano, a sociology major, had intended to write a full thesis this year, but the accident that nearly broke her neck cut her thesis in half.  Still, she amassed a trove of qualitative data that formed the backbone of a 50-page paper about how seniors at Tufts are thinking about their future romantic relationships.  

In addition to writing her thesis, Lano has also conducted qualitative research in a sociology lab at Tufts for the past three years, and said she might like to perform that same sort of work down the line.  

“I really want to work for Tinder or Bumble or Instagram; there’s a specific skill set that I need for that, which getting a Ph.D. in sociology would definitely help,” she said. “I really hope they make room for people who want to do qualitative research for product improvement.”

Lano has not ruled out the possibility of a master’s degree in social work, and she has also considered applying to Ph.D. programs in social psychology.  

“I had kind of been going through college thinking that by the time I got to senior year, I would know what I want to do, and then I got to senior year and was like, ‘I have no idea, honestly,’” she said. 

In August, the uncertainty spooked her, but in April, she said, “My senior year was defined by my accident. I like to know exactly what’s ahead of me, but I didn’t know when I’d have a fully functioning brain again, and I think that really changed my perspective in a good way.  You can’t plan for everything, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

As an afterthought, Lano added, “I probably shouldn’t have attached myself to this dog.”