4 years. 1,460 days. Sounds like an incredibly long amount of time until you’re sitting where so many of us are now, about to end one of the most influential chapters of our lives. The most stressful, difficult, unbearable time. Yet also the most rewarding and a time that we will look back on fondly for the rest of our lives. We’ve spent countless hours complaining about assignments, classes, professors, roommates, crappy dining hall food, having to do our own laundry, and being homesick. But what we never realized until now is this place has become our true home and a part of our hearts will remain here forever. At no other time in our lives will we ever be so free again.
This has been the time when you were allowed to think solely about yourself. What major you wanted. What clubs or sports you thought you should join. Where you felt would be the most fun to live. All of that is going to go away soon as the sheltered bubble you’ve been kept in for what seems like forever pops and you move into true adulthood. But before that happens, take a moment to bask in the gloriousness of it all. You’ve accomplished so much and that piece of paper you’re about to be handed means more than what the words printed on the page can ever say. Bachelor degree in any of the multitude of majors you could have chosen….that’s not what really matter. What matters is the late nights spent laughing and telling stupid stories instead of actually studying, weekends going on Taco Bell runs with tons of people stuffed in the car, days spent playing wiffleball on the lawn instead of doing the homework you’ve surely already been avoiding for as long as possible.
What they don't tell you when you enter college is that the biggest lessons you learn won't be ones that are scheduled on a syllabus or taught in the classroom. The most important things learned will come from the strangers that became friends that became family. When you're lying in your bed crying harder than you knew you could and wondering if you can really take any more of the crap that life has been handing you, someone comes in right at that moment to pick you up and show you these people are more than simply acquaintances you live with. They're your life line during your short time in college and if you're lucky enough they'll continue to be just that when you leave this place.
As they call your name and you walk across that stage to receive your diploma, take the time to think of just how far you've come. Don't forget to say a thank you to your guardian angel for getting you through the weekends. Silently tell your parents you love them and you're sorry you didn't call quite as much as you should have. Say a prayer for all those you've come to know and love because each person you've crossed paths with here deserves the world. Most importantly, believe in yourself and know that this journey has made you better than you ever thought it would. And remember, it's not goodbye, it's just see you later.