Freshman year is about being excited to fly out of your parents’ nest. It is about starting college courses and meeting new people.
You have waited your whole life to shake loose from your parents’ strangle on your social life. You hang out with your new friends, and you search for someone of the opposite sex to hang out with, to take your mind off of your ex back at home.
You hang out with your friends in Pfeiffer and eat until you puke, (or whatever it is you do) and talk about how much fun you’re going to have hanging out with the older crowd. The next day classes start and you are bombarded by all the assignments and end of the semester deadlines.
As overwhelming as it is, you have to pass these classes regardless of what kind of relationship you and the professor might have. Don’t miss class because it probably will not guarantee you the professor’s sympathy later.
You notice that these tough courses require time away from your social life. Oh, and by the way, your final is next week.
Sophomore year is about tackling those cornerstone classes along with classes in your major and the workload has a handle on you, and it is just wearing you out. You’re staying up until 3 a.m. studying and finishing homework while your friends at Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa are out having REAL fun.
Your sport and/or extracurricular activities are consuming your nights and weekends. You miss home and the campus feels like it is getting smaller every day. You can’t even register into any of the classes that you need to graduate and you are starting to wonder why you even decided to take on so much
Junior year begins the shift and you want to make school a time to remember. You are an upperclassmen now, and you know the finish line is just around the corner. You are willing to do whatever it takes to graduate as soon as possible.
You want to enjoy being a real adult, in a sense. Age 21 is only around the corner. Internships, part-time jobs, sports and you are starting to get the hang of this school thing. Senior year might be a little hectic though, if you don’t get all your classes.
At the blink of an eye, it is senior year. You are getting letters and emails telling you about other requirements you need to graduate. What happened to the time?
Just yesterday you were in high school saying you could not wait to get out of your parent’s house and now you are just hoping that they will let you stay there a few months after you graduate to get back on your feet.
It is just so surreal; you have only six weeks until graduation and you are still not sure what you want to do with your degree. You are not even sure it is worth something anymore.
The thought of paying back loans makes you sick to your stomach, and the sight of that letter from financial aid makes you cringe. No wonder people give you money when you graduate; they know you are going to need it.
You will have to answer the college’s toughest test question: What are you going to do next year? But don’t panic; you have spent the last four years of your life training for this.
Use all the knowledge you have learned along the way. Use the recommendation letters that your professors have written. Also use of all the skills you have in your backpack because your college experience will either be a breeze or a blizzard at your job interviews.
Now is the time you either sink or swim. You did not come all this way to fall from the nest.
As you fly from yet another nest, your next stop will be reality. This is a huge transition for everyone, so you should not feel alone. Understand that you will face greater problems in the future. Sure, graduating from college means you can’t bum off of your parents or take a nap in the middle of the day, but on the other side the doors are open for you to achieve your childhood dreams.
Think back through your journey in college. Remember all of the great things you learned, connections you made and experiences you created that shaped who you are today.
Use those tools and experiences you have gathered to play an active role in society in helping strengthen the world that the people have left for us to change. Take a look back at the journey you have just completed, and take a deep breath because you have something to be very proud of.
Crack a smile because you finally understand that life is about all those trials and tribulations along the way. And no one can take your Simpson experience away from you.
Then lift your head up to the bright future in the horizon and walk across the stage at graduation because you earned it. Congratulations to the class of 2012.
Stefon is a senior and a business management major with a minor in communications. He played basketball for four years and has been a Destination Leader and a MSA member.