As I am writing this, it's really sinking in... I just had my last summer as a student. Ever. Well, maybe not ever, but at least for the foreseeable future. I began my last first day of school a week ago today. With a looming December graduation date and four months of growing list of ambitious goals (apply for Teach for America, take GRE, do well in school, finish internship, get hired by internship- fingers crossed- or else look for other jobs), I looked around at the freshman on campus and felt something odd. I felt jealous! I saw them making friends in the line for the C4C dining hall. I saw them doing the "freshman crawl" on the hill. I saw them figuring out where their classes were and swiping their Buff One Cards (which incedently, are a different color than mine and make my cool gold one feel like a vintage relic) to get into their dorms. I remember that phase- it was strange not knowing where I was or not really knowing anyone around me. And, academically, college felt much more difficult than high school ever had. Now, on the eve of graduation, I have made a wonderful group of friends. I feel most at home on CU's campus or in my apartment- just a 10 minute bike ride away from Norlin Quad. And college has become a routine that I know how to conquer- I know the formula for success in all my classes. How could I envy students who were in the same awkward predicament I was a mere four years ago?
It's because the journey has been nothing like I imagined, but it has been everything I wish I could relive. Exposing the mysteries of CU and nestling into a comforting place has been one of the most incredible experiences I've had in my 22 years. Quite frankly, I am terrified at the thought of everything I've come to know and love being pulled from under me at the moment I turn my tassle at graduation. I wish I could go back to my freshman year and realize the gift I had been given instead of taking it for granted. I also yearn to convey this to all the freshman I see tossing frisbees on Farrand field... "Cherish this time!" I imagine myself yelling. But I never do.
That's because it wouldn't be a journey if you already knew where you'd wind up. It wouldn't be quite the gift it is if you knew exactly what you'd been given. And that's how I'm going to approach the end of my college experience as the class of 2016 begins theirs: ready for a journey, ready for a gift, but not certain or complacent in where I might end up. I'm going to soak up my last four months the same way I soaked up my first four years. And while I want to encourage everyone to do the same, I know that they intrinsically will- even without my (ficticious) verbal assaults. College makes you and shapes you, it indents you and imprints you, and it is impossible to leave without relishing in the memories that you created in this wonderful time of your life.