Sept. 10, 2013 — As I see my Facebook acquaintances from college post about their first week back at George Fox University, a wave of nostalgia comes over me, and I am a wee bit jealous of all the incoming freshman at my alma mater.
After 16 years of being a full-time student, suddenly, poof, I am done. I feel like education has been ripped away from me in one swift motion. I mean, this is the very first September I will not be in school since kindergarten. No more frequent Taco Bell late night runs with my best friend, no more falling asleep in coffee shops over media ethics papers, and no more weekend Portland trips dressed as hipsters.
Looking back, I loved my college experience. Sure, there are things I would change, mostly my tendency to marathon entire series on Netflix rather than go outside, but the people I met, the teachers I had and the adventures I went on all helped make my four years memorable and enriching.
However, beginning college was not very easy for me. I was tied to relationships back home, I missed having friends who automatically knew everything about me and I missed the familiarity of home.
Then I found my niche. After taking journalism courses, I found friends who had the same goals and interests as me, and I developed deep friendships with the people living on my dorm floor. College was a great time to be somewhat independent from my parents while figuring out who I am and what I believe.
Sometimes, though, I think it might be easier if I did not enjoy my experience since I would not miss my teachers, the campus and my friends.
As I walked across the graduation ceremony stage on May 4, I just kept thinking of how I would never see most of these companions ever again. Had I gone on enough coffee dates with them, did I make enough of an effort to know what was going on in their lives, did I let them know I valued their friendship?
My advice to anyone still in school, or entering for the first year, is to have fun and make memories that will last forever. Honestly, college is not only about school work, (but it is still important, so please don’t slack off via my word), college should produce lasting memories and friendships. Even if you have to force yourself, go to every cheesy school-sponsored event. Find your niche. Find what makes you happy. Live your life.
I am sad that I will never again get to experience the nerve-wracking rush of orientation weeks, or even the anxiety that comes with the first day of classes. However, I am constantly reminded that even though school is out, there are still numerous opportunities to learn and grow without a textbook and finals. I am still learning how to be a better friend, family member, worker, writer, reader and listener.
While I am done with my time as a student, I will forever cherish my years at school, and I believe that a successful college career is when you would enter the same school all over again.
So here’s to all the incoming college freshman all over the world. Time really does fly by.
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