Trust Me; I Got This: Tension in the air, pants off in the streets

"Trust Me, I Got This" is a weekly column by news editor and senior Christopher McDermott on surviving senior year, guided solely by this unconventional advice.

Students cross the finish line in UConn's annual underwear mile on April 17, 2016 at the top of Fairfield Way. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus) 

Some days you just have to drop everything and run pant-less (usually figuratively but in this case literally) down the nearest main drag. Society wouldn’t function if this day came at the same time for everyone. So naturally the first beautiful day of spring—the best day of the year for playful truancy—poses an existential threat to human civilization.

More importantly though: HAVE YOU BEEN OUTSIDE THESE PAST FEW DAYS? SPRING IS IN SESSION!

With graduation just a month away, I’ve had a constant sense of foreboding doom. But on Sunday, for the first time in months, you could wear just a t-shirt without the wind biting, slapping and making death stares at your skin.

Sunday’s weather gently caressed and told you to come outside and STAY outside. College kids took off their shoes, played Frisbee around Mirror Lake and napped on the grass. Everything felt more vivid. AND MONDAY WAS EVEN WARMER!

Around 1 p.m. on Fairfield Way, students ran the Underwear Mile, a UConn tradition and fundraiser for communities in the Dominican Republic. Imagine this happening against the kindling tension seniors are feeling with less than a month to graduation and ignited by a forecast in the 60s. What could be more appropriate than a frantic semi-naked adventure.

Regrettably, I couldn’t make it, but I was happier knowing people were out there somewhere—on this campus—making the nearly naked mile for a good cause. I was at work. I’m grateful and privileged to have the rewarding, engaging and heartwarming tutor job that I do, but on Sunday I had a sudden allergy to the indoors.

Students enjoy the nice weather and study outside on Sunday, April 9, 2017. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

Hours later, I made the executive decision to hold our news team meeting outside. By 6 p.m., in the shade, it was colder than I expected, but the writers humored me long enough to stick it out. They’re good people. I walked around barefoot for as long as I could—my soles are weak and thin, but it felt appropriate for the kind of person I was playing at that moment.

I’m expecting major life changes in the next few months; everything feels a bit more poignant. Sunday was my last first day of spring at UConn, and if my postgrad plans go a certain direction it could possibly be my last first day of spring in New England.

I wanted to treat the opening days of spring with all the same seriousness I would give a crime story or a budget announcement. Journalism as a craft is about treating happenings with a focus on clear experiencing, remembering and sharing; and a sudden upward shift in weather is going to impact the community more than many an average daily news story. Moods just jump up when it’s sunny.

Considering graduation, games are most competitive in the final seconds. And I get the most clarity and focus in the moments when the deadline is almost upon me. For that reason, these weeks of impending transition are some of those most worth savoring.

I have an agenda of spreadsheets and transcriptions and readings to cover. I’ve also got a standing bucket list of friends and experiences to give proper time to. There’s overlap between the two lists in that both deserve attention, time and appreciation, but that second list is the one that allots specific agenda items for sitting in awe of the sunshine.


Christopher McDermott is the news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.mcdermott@uconn.edu.