Be involved, be happy

"It’s that time of the year where the next batch of young adults go into the real world and are forced to face an uncertain future. With this, there is a sudden need for nostalgia and reflection over the past four (or three or five) years, figuring out what the college experience has meant. Often, this comes in commencement speeches, senior celebrations and final opinion pieces for college newspapers.

"Now, I don’t want to be hokey and sentimental, even though it is appropriate since this is the last thing I write for The Oswegonian – a constant in my hectic four years at Oswego State. I don’t want tears. I don’t want an episode of "This Is Your Life." Instead, I want to take this opportunity to impart whatever wisdom I might have acquired during my time at this institution. This comes with the hope that I might be able to help some underclassmen and encourage them to get through the tough times that college forces upon them.

"One of the best things I did in college was being involved in some form of activity or organization. In addition to The Oswegonian, I have worked on theatre productions and been part of Blackfriar’s Theatre Organization, among others. While some may think I went overboard, and questioned my sanity and time management skills, I do not regret it at all. Although I went through extremely late nights in order to participate in these organizations, I made some of the best friends I could ever ask for through these groups and I learned valuable skills that will help me for the rest of my life. If anything, being active makes the college experience richer and the memories made from these times are the ones you remember while you are suffering in a cubicle 10 years from now.

"Embrace any opportunities that come your way, even if they don’t quite match up with your career goals. During my junior year of college, I taught an honors course about how to be effective in arguments. Although this appeared to be something to just add to my plate, I learned so much through that experience in terms of responsibility and being a leader, which in turn benefited my work in my majors. With this, I also became closer with one of the best friends I made here. Would these things have happened without being an Honors 150 teacher? Probably, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

"Although I have been fortunate to have some successes at Oswego State, I have also faced numerous disappointments. At the time, I admit, I was devastated in the face of these events but in the end it forced me to find different solutions in order to accomplish my goals. Sometimes I was able to achieve what I wanted and was happy with those accomplishments and that I was able to overcome the challenges that came my ways. Other times, I discovered new dreams that I wouldn’t have realized if I didn’t have that initial disappointment. The latter turned out to be more rewarding and now I’m pursuing a career I never would have thought of when I first entered as a freshman.

"More than anything, appreciate the time in college. Although we are in a contained environment, college offers a range of experiences that rival the real world. You must face situations you never thought could happen, deal with people you never thought you would meet and learn things you never thought existed. Many of these things overlap and put us through circumstances that force us to grow up – and fast. We may not become better people or more mature, but it makes us stronger, which will be beneficial in the long run.

"If you’ve noticed, I haven’t mentioned any of the lessons I learned in the classroom. There is no doubt, these are important to know and will be beneficial in the long run, as we become members of a global society and go to cocktail parties. On the other hand, what has prepared me the most for the future have been the lessons I learned outside the four walls of the classroom. So, as I prepare to walk across the stage on May 14, I am a grateful I leave Oswego State with no regrets, which is the most anyone can hope for.

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