Austin’s last thought process: A senior reflects on his time

Sadly, after a semester of depriving you all of my column, this will by my final thought process for The Anchor before I graduate. It seems like only yesterday when my sad parents were dropping me off at the residential hall, thinking that their son may never return. How happy they’ll be once they find out I’m returning to live in their basement indefinitely after I graduate.

I still remember being that naïve freshman wandering through the doorways of Cook Hall, wondering what my four years here would be like, but still hesitant about my choice to come here. Although four years seem to have flown by quickly, I can say I made the right choice. Do I have any regrets? No. Have I made mistakes? Plenty. But all the mishaps I’ve had, from missing the first half of the time trial when trying out for the cross country team on my second day of school to sleeping in and almost missing an exam last month, has helped shaped who I am and made me a better person. Hope has left me with an invaluable college experience that I could never find elsewhere. As a parting gift to the students, here are some things that I wish I had known the first day that I arrived here four years ago.

1. You can be friends with your teachers: I’ll admit, the sight of teachers outside of the classroom or offices used to send shivers down my spine. It’s easy to imagine teachers as these terrifying beings that dish out exams randomly because they can impact our futures so easily. However, beyond all the academics and papers, they’re just human beings with flaws and issues similar to our own (except me, I’m flawless) and many would relish the opportunity to get know us outside the classroom.

2. You don’t need to figure out your future just this moment: My biggest mistake before coming to college was thinking that I needed to have a plan for my future down to the letter. As soon as I graduated from here I was going to win the lottery (twice) and publish a Pulitzer Prize winning novel about my success. While having a plan, or at least a general sense of what you’re doing with your life is important, you don’t have to figure everything out just yet. Leave room to move about and explore different things and see what fits. On that note, you can never have too many contingency plans for a date.

3. Find a good balance: Sometimes I would spend so many hours working on homework that I suffered a mental breakdown in the middle of the Pine Grove. Other times, I would just blatantly lie to myself that school had been canceled due to a snow storm and wouldn’t get out of bed for the day in the middle of September. It’s important to work hard for our future while also enjoying life. Figuring out the right ratio of how much work vs. leisure makes life so much better.

4. Seize the moment: There are a lot of opportunities here, and while all of them may not work, you don’t know until you try. So ask out that one girl you’ve been thinking about. What’s the worst that can happen? She says no, then cruelly crushes your spirits by embarrassing you in front of all of your friends, forcing you to wear a bag on your head for the rest of eternity. On second thought, don’t do that.

5. Remember, your time here is limited: Four years goes by quickly, and if you’re not careful, you might miss it. There’ll be ups and downs, but learn to appreciate all of the moments because they’re fleeting.

I would not only like to thank the teachers whose passion and zeal for teaching always out-matched my disdain for going to class, but also the other employees here from the lunch ladies to the janitors who gave their time to help me to get to graduation. Also, thanks to The Anchor for usually publishing my haphazardly written articles.

The Anchor: You’re welcome!

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