It’s hard to put into words the emotions I’ve been feeling as I am so close to leaving a place that has become my home for the past four years – but I’ll give it a try.
When I came to the UNH Durham campus August 27th, 2010, I had tears welling in my eyes that quickly turned into sobs when my parents left me in my new freshman dorm room. I had just left home after going through a bad break up, parted with my class of 90 students who I’d known since kindergarten, and thought this was the end of my youth. Well, what played out in the four years that followed has entirely proved me otherwise.
The people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had and the stories I can tell are far beyond anything that I imagined I would gain here at UNH. Today, just days after my college graduation, I look back on the Friday that I moved in as a freshman and smile at the memory of how truly upset, nervous, and downright hysterical I was. If I could go back and talk to that scared college freshman, I would like to tell her a few of the things that I’ve learned since then.
1. If you’re really friends with someone, you’ll keep in touch and it will be as though nothing has changed when you have your reunions. Hold on to those that matter and forget the rest.
2. Don’t be afraid of change; as it turns out, what you think are your biggest tragedies, eventually morph into your biggest triumphs (i.e. the eight incredible semesters I spent as a wildcat).
3. The things that you learn outside of the classroom will be just as critical, if not more than what you learn on the inside. College is supposed to prepare you for a career, but it’s also supposed to prepare you for the rest of your life. The lessons you are taught my your friends and peers will be the foundation of your success – at least I hope..
4. Don’t be hasty. You have four short years here and it’s important to make every house party, bar night, and hungover mornings in bed with your roommates count. You’ll look back more fondly on the Sunday Funday Kegger you spent with your friends versus the A you got on your paper that was due the next morning.
College is an alternate reality where your main responsibilities include class, passing those classes and hanging out with your friends. You are blessed with a unique experience to live in a community in which hundreds of your friends live within a mere 3 minute walk, drinks are as cheap as a buck, and you can get a large cheese pizza delivered to your door as late as 3 am. It was a place where people’s doors are always open and you wouldn’t be surprised to see if a few of your friends had passed out on your couch after the bar when you wandered downstairs the next morning; a place where we literally referred to our house as a homeless shelter because at 3 am on a Friday you were never really sure who would walk through the front door to say hi on their walk home. I’m sure it’s similar with most college towns, but Durham has demonstrated the greatest sense of community I have ever felt and I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s hard to let a feeling like that go, unsure when you’ll feel something similar again.
I am incredibly proud of myself for my academic achievements and graduating in my four years but my undergraduate transcript will never mean as much to me as the time I spent with friends; the memories of nights we spent dancing like pre teens at a middle school dance or the mornings that turned to afternoons in the dining halls laughing about the ridiculous and often idiotic decisions we made the night before. I cannot fathom that there was a time where I felt like Durham was a foreign place in which I would never fit in. To my class of 2014 and the Durham community, you have given me my happiest four years to date. It scares me to think where I would be had I not met most of you; it’s been quite a wild ride and we’ve got the stories (and pictures and videos -__-) to prove it. I plan to leave Durham just the way I came – in over dramatic, likely hysterical tears. However, I’ll take my own advice and attempt to embrace change as I set out for the next chapter. I only hope my loving and supportive parents will allow me a one month grace period to wallow in my post grad self pity. I love you guys, thank you for being the best class of students and friends I could have only dreamed of. Cheers to us!