Thirty-two days. That's all that stands between us and graduation. Throughout our undergraduate careers, the notion of graduation and the "real world" has always been something to strive toward. However, now that the time is so near, I cannot help but reflect on the past four years at NC State, and apprehensively anticipate leaving the place that I consider my home.
Four years is a long time. I have read more textbooks than I ever thought possible, mastered the art of procrastination, learned to talk my way out of any situation, and written so many papers that I will probably permanently have tendonitis. However, those four years have flown by, and they have been some of the best years of my life. I now see why alumni always advise us to enjoy our college years—there's really nothing quite like the university experience.
I can still remember my very first day freshman year. I can feel the nervous anticipation, the butterflies in my stomach as I moved into my dorm, met my hallmates and walked to my first college class. I was awe-struck at the size of the campus and the large number of students who attended each day. Four years later, I am still just as amazed at the beauty and innovation present at this school.
Throughout my time here, I have seen NC State grow at an unprecedented rate. Our class is the one who has seen and experienced both the old Talley (RIP Taco Bell) as well as the new, refurbished version! Hunt library is another great example of how we got to watch our campus expand to what it is now. As we round out our last few weeks here, it is important to remember these thoughts and feelings we had regarding our college career those years ago, and recognize the growth and experiences we have had along this journey.
These last few weeks will fly by. Before you know it, it will be time to don our caps and gowns and commemorate the accomplishment of receiving a university degree. It's going to be a whirlwind of emotions, so make sure to enjoy each moment while you can. Although the workload is intense, allow yourself to spend time with your friends and participate in campus events—the next vacation we get from school is going to be a permanent one.
Walk the long way to class and soak in the atmosphere around campus. Visit old professors and thank them for making your time at this institution a valuable one. The notion of no more classes, papers, and exams is a tantalizing one; however, attempt to remain present and enjoy every last second of time you have left. After this semester ends, your undergraduate career ends forever.
I'm going to miss so much. Tailgating before football games, cheering at basketball games, sorority functions, concerts, even the vibe of Hillsborough street—these are all aspects of our school that have been assimilated as part of my identity. When someone asks me to tell them about myself, the first thing I say is "I'm a student at NC State." It's frightening and upsetting and stressful to have something that is such a deeply ingrained part of my identity disappear in just a few short weeks. That's exactly why we have to make each last day count.
If there are things you have been meaning to do at your school before graduating, get them done! Visit the cool coffee shop you've been meaning to check out, go jump in lake Raleigh, or watch the sunset from the top deck of Hunt library. Do it all while you still have the chance. Go out, have a great time, and live these last weeks to the fullest. Or choose to stay in, and spend quality time with friends you made throughout the years that have now become family.
Reminisce. Look back at each of your successes, struggles, and allow yourself to be nostalgic. Four years of college has allowed you to be comfortable with your surroundings and lifestyle, and it's terrifying to think about that all changing so quickly. Recognize that fear, and know that it too will dissipate.
I hope that your college journey has been everything you wished for, and so much more. I hope you learned lessons that have taught you who you are, and the person you want to be in this world. I hope you go out in the world, successful and confident, but never forget the experiences and memories that unite us all into a singular Wolfpack. We are all capable, intelligent adults who are ready to go forge our own paths in a world that is ours for the taking.