Graduation Looming: Looking Back at College

Today I attended my cousin’s high school graduation at Tualatin High School. Made me think back to my high school graduation. I don’t think I had ever been more ready to move on into the next chapter of my life than I had at that moment. I remember right after our senior assembly and graduation practice i was sitting on the stairs and my Advanced Algebra teacher, Scott Buchanan came up to me and handed me a white envelope with “stringer” scribbled on the front. I looked up to ask him what this was, and before I even opened my mouth he turned around looked me dead in the eyes and said, “You will do great things,” and left.

In this letter he started off by saying, “It’s truly been a Weird year, a Strange month and an odd day.” I’ve kept this letter either on my wall or in my planner for the past four years, and I read it if not every day, every week. Because it reminds me of my future and how the little things you do in life can change someones world. Because Scott has changed mine, through that letter. We continue to talk occasionally through email once or twice a year. I give him a little updated “spark notes” version of my post-high school, soon-to-be post-college life story. And he continues to encourage me to be the best ME I can be.

Next Saturday, June 14th 2008 at 9 a.m. I will be graduating from the University of Oregon school of Journalism and Communication with a Bachelors of Science, Majoring in Journalism: Public Relations and a minor in Communication Studies. It is hard to say my college career is coming to a close. I am happy it is because college has been hard for me, not just academically but emotionally and physically hard.

In the past four years I’ve developed my leadership skills in Greek Life, as well as in academics, both strengthen and lost high school friendships, began new friendships, which will last a life time, and others that may only be surface deep. I’ve written a 100 page research paper, gone to class slightly intoxicated (in celebration), managed a staff, worked in the most amazing and the most frustrating group projects. I’ve lived in a mansion with 50+ women, been in the mens football locker room, I yelled back at Frogg when he pressured me to buy a joke book so he wouldn’t have to go back to selling crack to babies…I bought hot dogs from the vendor on the corner and left her tips 3X the amount of the hot dog because it made her day better.

These are just things I’ve done. Things I’ve accomplished. but these things aren’t going to be there for me when I finally get off into the “real world” and find my first job, or a great place to live, when I receive my first promotion.

Yes, college is about choosing your education and finding the course of knowledge you wish to pursue. But it’s more than that. College is the time to step out of your shell and meet people who are going to be with you through all the little things and all the big things in your life.

I was looking at my Facebook account the other day and realized I have 600+ friends at or from University of Oregon on facebook. Now maybe 100 of those people are random friends. Some I’ve never met, but we know each other through friends… etc. but most of them I Know, be it through my sorority, my dorm freshman year I do know a lot of these people. BUT the question really is “Will these people be there for me when I really need them?” the answer: No. At first I wasn’t fine with that. What is the point of having friends who won’t be there for your? You do need those friends, just for a different part of your life.

I’ve decided that leaving college with 4 or 5 GREAT Best Friends makes me one of the lucky ones. I’m moving in next year with two women who have sat by me through yelling, fighting, screaming, crying, laughing and dead silence. These women have waited on me hand and foot while I’ve been sick with no mom to take care of me, and they have listened to me. Those are my True friends. I found both of these women in college in the past four years. That is what college is about. Finding friendships that will last a lifetime.

Next Saturday I will sit next to these women so proud of their accomplishments and know that we are moving on to the next chapter of our lives together, though its going to hard at times, its also going to be the beginning of a great new chapter.

I feel like I should be finishing this with some wonderful words of wisdom as some of my fellow readers, friends and myself finish up what is supposed to be known as the “best four years of your life”. But thats exactly what college wasn’t. Yeah I moved away from home lived on my own, with friends, made some bad decisions, made some good decisions, but putting a tag on college as the best four years of your life fills that statement with pressure. and for years I felt as though I was having an awful college experience because I wasn’t “living it to the fullest” I wasn’t going out every night to be wasted and find guys, only to wake up the next morning and not remember a thing. — I’m glad i never did that stuff. It’s not me. I had fun nights at the dollar fifty, or wondering around target with friends. It is definitely the people you’re with not the stuff you do.

If I were to do it all over again, I would I’m not sure I would do a lot differently. You may ask then why do it again? I would do it just to spend that time with my friends again!

My Advice to the Kids: find your friends and never let go. Know you will hit rough patches, but you will get through it. It gives and it takes. Friendship is a two way street– remember that. Go to the beach with your friends even if only for a day trip, make late night runs to target just to walk the aisle and eat slim jims, go to the dollar fifty and pick a fight with the hick who won’t stop talking through out the entire movie, buy a joke book from frogg, eat at every restruant on 13th, have sleep overs and game nights, you’re still a kid but maybe bring a nice bottle of wine. bake fun fetti cake just to celebrate that its thursday. write a card for a friend who is down, spend atleast one evening in the hospital waiting room with a friend who is sick, its kinda like initiation into college. Eat Cheesey bacon fries once a week it should be a staple to your college diet, call your parents if not every day, at least once a week. have themed parties on week nights. Its not an average night in Eugene until you see a pirate, pilot, private, chiquita banana and Indiana Jones walking down the street. Most of all laugh. Laugh so hard you can’t breath. You have four years in this place and with these people take advantage of it. But know you get out of it what you make it. And most of all, never compare your college experience to anyone else’s. I made that mistake and it makes you forget about all the great stuff you’ve done. Be selfish in the matter and only think about yourself!

Well this is it. I’m about ready to finish up my last few finals and projects, which will ultimately commence my college experience.

I will leave you with my favorite quote, “Do anything and everything. If it’s something you’ll regret in the morning, sleep late and when you wake up, laugh about it with your friends, because your friends are what matter most. When you have your friends, you have everything.”


~ by stacianne on June 8, 2008.

2 Responses to “Graduation Looming: Looking Back at College”

  1. Wow….I’m leaving University in another month and this post made me nostalgic…
    I’m gonna miss college SO much…

    thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh Staci! I love this post. You made me tear up a little 🙂 It has been so much fun to have you in class and watch you grow into a young professional this year. I hope you’ll stay in touch and keep me posted on life.

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