The best is yet to come

May 082005
Authors: Kelly Hagenah

I always have something I want to say. Rarely is there a moment when I don't have an idea to share, an opinion I want to voice or a thought I'd like to provoke.

So, thank you, to the Collegian readers and staff, for allowing me to do just that for the last year; really I can't thank you enough. However, as we all know – life really does move fast, and while graduation is (only!) a week away, today's column is my last and I still have a few thing left to say…

To sum up the last four years would be impossible. There is just too much; a million stories, a million more memories, an infinite number of lessons, trials and triumphs. Wild nights that we knew would never be remembered, and unplanned moments that will never be forgotten. I turned 19, then 20, then 21, and before I knew it – 22.

I lived in the residence halls, the sorority house, then abroad and then in a great off-campus house. I dated, then I dat!

ed some more, and then thought I was destined for creepy or mean guys, dated a bit more, and then I fell in love. I made new friends, I lost touch with a few, I re-bonded with old friends and then I realized I had made some lifelong friends. I laughed, and I cried, laughed some more, then cried because I was laughing so hard; and then I thought to myself what many people have told me a thousand times over: college definitely could be the best four years of our lives.

Sigh … college. There is no doubt that it is an incredible time of our lives. Whether we come here straight from high school, or several years later, college has an everlasting impact on us all. Whether we arrived with intentions to be a serious or laid-back student, we will leave with an education that could not have been achieved in most other places. And no matter how we took advantage of the carefree social life, whether we went out, stayed out, simply dined out or stayed in – every moment was one we will look back on fondly.

But now, its coming to an end – and while I don't want to believe it's over, I also don't want to believe that one day I will sigh and say, "Ah, college. Those were the best days of my life." Because if I say that, then what have I done with the rest of my life? Could it really be true that while I may only be at the quarter point in my life, the remaining three-fourths will never amount to this? I mean, come on – I may have had an unbelievable and incredible time here, but there is just no way I am going to allow this to be as good as it gets.

The thing is, we can't and shouldn't compare college to the rest of our lives because it really is an experience of its own, and a world unlike anything else. While college is an establishment meant for higher education, what it actually gives us is a foundation to know how and where to go from here. College gives us a starting point for what awaits beyond these four years. The lessons we learned here in the classroom will undoubtedly, in at least some way, be of great help i!

n many future endeavors. College is a pre-requisite course for the rest of our lives, and it is one we should always look back to, not wish we were still enrolled in.

While these four years may have set the foundation, it is up to only us how we take it from here. We can stop everything and continue to believe that this is the best it will ever be, or, we can take away with us every little thing we can and use it to create the rest of our lives.

I do hope that you all will consider college to be the best four-plus years of your lives. But I want that to be proven wrong every day thereafter. I wish, for you all, that every day will be better than the last – and that every last day becomes a steppingstone and a moment never forgotten. Congratulations graduating seniors! And to everyone, thank you for giving me a moment of your day.

Kelly Hagenah is a graduating speech communication major. This is her last column.

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