Finally Finals

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

For most, that would mean it’s the eagerly awaited holiday season that brings happiness and cheer, and the equally dreaded week of final exams that bring stress and anxiety each semester.  As the fifteenth and final week of classes drew to a close, one could not help but be overcome with a feeling of accomplishment, upon completing final exams and being sent us off to holiday heaven for what would turn into the shortest month of the year.

If you’re wondering where the semester went, you’re not alone – I find myself wondering the same thing.  Almost four months ago, students were returning to school to put in another semester of hard work, or something like it.  Does it really feel like that long ago?  For some students, I can understand why they felt the semester dragged on longer than the pasta line in the commons at noon.  Though, for the rest of the student body, the fall semester flew.

With that said, I come to the over-used adage provided by parents everywhere: Enjoy college while you can, because it’s the best time of your life.  I would assume that phrase or a variation of it is heard by each student as he or she returns home to spend time with relatives during the holidays.  I never really entertained the idea much, feeling that the quicker college is over, the better.  However, as my third semester comes to a close here at Bloomsburg University, I am realizing that I am in the middle of a journey that will last four years but feel like it was over faster than the Kentucky Derby.

This seems the case for twenty-two-year-old Bloomsburg Alum Jeremiah Long.  A Business Management major who graduated last spring, Long reminds me constantly each time we talk that he wishes he was still attending college.  His message echoes that of our relatives around the dinner table, but relates in a much more intimate way because he is much closer in age to the rest of us.

“I used to feel the same way about my parents telling me it would be the best time of my life,” Long said.  “Then I realized, I had begun to actually believe it and by the time that happened, I was weeks away from graduation.”

This is part of the motivation behind a change of attitude towards my college life this past semester.  When the classes get boring and the work begins to overwhelm me, I try to remember to think positively of my experiences, something many college students forget.  No one will argue with you on the fact that it is difficult, time consuming, and just not for some people.  But, life after college isn’t exactly easy either.

For Long, who now works as a Business Research and Planning Analyst at Geisinger Health System, his experiences in college are ones he looks back on with great satisfaction.  “I like where I’m at now, but I can’t say I wouldn’t mind being in college again.  When you get out, you realize that it wasn’t as bad as you made it seem sometimes, like the classes aren’t that difficult and the exams aren’t anything to stress out on,” said Long.

I think it is important to understand the role of college in order to better understand how to enjoy this.  By this, I mean that of course it’s going to be difficult.  It’s supposed to prepare us for the rest of our lives.  No matter who tells you it’s the best time of your life, they cannot say it isn’t, wasn’t or won’t be difficult, too.   Though, inbetween all the classes, studying, and exams that take place each semester, it’s important to realize that college is something you’re going to look back on and wish you could go back in time.

My point is simple: I urge my fellow students, in this difficult and stressful time of studying for final exams and turning in last minute assignments, to not forget how fortunate we are to be where we are.  I ask that we do not make the same mistakes so many before us have made and not see the benefits of college life while still living it.  Do not find yourself years down the road thinking about how fast college passed you by and if you could have enjoyed it more if you just would’ve tried to.  And maybe—just maybe, if we try to enjoy these days as much as possible, they won’t seem too bad.

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