On senior years and senior nights at Kansas

Alpha Delta Pi's 2010 seniors at the beginning of the best year of my life

Alpha Delta Pi’s 2010 seniors at the beginning of the best year of my life

I loved being a senior at KU so much that I did it twice.

Well, my second senior year was just a semester, but only because I was set to graduate and couldn’t justify the expense of adding a minor and staying one more semester. It’s a shame, though, because I was just starting to get good at school.

For most of my life, I associated school with rejection. More than a few classmates told me I could be popular if only I would lose some weight. More than a lot of teachers told me I could have good grades if only I would try harder. I was always in trouble for talking out of turn or forgetting my permission slip or losing my homework. I couldn’t do anything right for 15 years.

My senior year of college came around and suddenly other girls thought I was funny, boys thought I was pretty, my professors thought I was smart, and employers thought I was competent.

I loved feeling like I knew what I was doing, loved feeling like I’d found my place. Eighteen years after I first set foot on campus, making myself comfortable in the children’s section of the Kansas Union book store while my mom was in class, Mt. Oread began to feel like home.

So it won’t surprise anyone that I love Senior Night at KU. And I know I’m no the only Jayhawk who loves senior night because Kansas is one of few schools where the fans stay after the game to honor the outgoing class. There’s something so perfect about capping off the regular season by honoring all the progress these kids have made over the last few years.

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This Lawrence Journal-World photo illustration from Nick Krug brings joy to my heart.

Travis Releford makes me so proud of the program Kansas runs. In a sport where so many players transfer to get more playing time, Relly took a redshirt his sophomore year. That was 2009-2010, my first senior year, when Kansas was led by some guys named Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry (guyssss, remember crossing your forearms in an “X” and singing “X gon’ give it to ya”?), and a couple of Morris twins. That was Thomas Robinson’s freshman year, Tyshawn Taylor’s sophomore year. Brady Morningstar was on that team. It feels like a lifetime ago.

Self, who we all know works in mysterious ways, explained that Kansas would need Releford in the future far more than it needed him right then. After his redshirt season, Self told Releford he could one day be a 1,000-point scorer for the Jayhawks. Geoffrey Calvert pointed out in today’s University Daily Kansan that Releford has 880 career points going into tonight’s game against Texas Tech. At Kansas, you wait your turn, and it pays off.

Remember when we all expected Jeff Withey to be a career bench warmer? That was quite the miscalculation. Now he’s the all-time leading shot blocker at KU and in the Big 12. I fully expect a triple-double tonight. He was one block short against West Virginia on Saturday, and Texas Tech is… not as good as West Virginia.

Kevin Young: highly underrated. This team couldn’t survive without his rebounding (he averages 6.9 per game), and I think his dunks deserve more attention. Kevin, we hardly knew ye.

And if you want me to gush about Elijah Johnson, the thinking man’s Tyshawn Taylor, you can read all that right here. Seeing how much he’s grown up since he arrived at KU is what makes Senior Night so special for nerds like myself.

You know who’s also a senior this year? The famous Katie Morris. To me she’ll always be one of those freshmen constantly hanging around the ADPi house — not that I blame her; our chef was pretty bomb that year. Look for her senior night sign at the game.

Instead of further reading, I bring you further viewing:

If you've ever sledded down Mt. Oread, you need to see Kelsey Weaver's photos from last month's snow storm in Lawrence.

If you’ve ever sledded down Mt. Oread, you need to see Kelsey Weaver’s photos from last month’s snow storm in Lawrence.

And I’m just gonna leave this here.

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