As college students, we know how hectic life can get and completing a four-year degree, maintaining a social life and working in family time can feel like a balancing act. Family and friends who have graduated and are earning their livings in the “real world” say that college is the best four years of life, and though it sometimes feels more exhausting and impossible, rather than fulfilling and enjoyable, there is truth and sincerity to these statements. There comes a time for all college students to walk across the stage in cap and gown, snap teary-eyed pictures with loved ones and prepare themselves for the realities that await outside the campus bounds. As graduation for the class of 2012 quickly approaches, it would seem natural for those leaving Bloomsburg University to look ahead to the future and the literally endless possibilities that await them; but what if, instead, the time was taken to first reflect on, remember and realize the memories made and lessons learned in the past four years? The good, the bad and the in-between are always worth a second look.
It seems impossible to sum up four years of life, especially that which occurs during such a pivotal and developmental time as that of college enrollment, but three second semester senior women attempted to do just that, and took the time to acknowledge the past events that brought them to the proud places they are today.
“I know that I have matured since freshman year and I take responsibility for myself,” said Elysse Madonna, BU marketing major and soon-to-be-alumni. “Of course I have regrets, but they all have a good and bad side, because I was brought to where I am today, either way.” It takes introspection and understanding to have the ability to see regrets as blessings, as this student has done.”
It is a fact of life: regrets will occur; mistakes will be made.
However, out of mistakes come lessons worth learning and when Lauren Murphy, a senior social work major, was asked about what advice she would give to a freshman student entering into Bloomsburg in the coming fall, she replied emphatically: “Go to class and be awake!” followed by a chuckle. Lauren states that she gained more confidence through college, saying “I learned to live life to the fullest and that everything is what you make it out to be,” which are also wise words for freshmen students as they prepare to discover themselves and learn things far beyond the facts printed on the pages of textbooks.
Eileen Johnson, a senior special-education major, plans to leave Bloomsburg University with not only a hard-earned degree, but also takes with her an appreciation for her college friendships: “I realized from being here that it’s not about how many friends you have but the quality of the friendships you make.”
Lauren, too, feels that she gained a deeper knowledge of friendship through her college relationships, saying “I learned more about myself through my closer friendships, and the friends I made in college helped me grow so much more than the friends I had in high school.” Social connections are the glue that holds the rest of the chaos together in college, and it is clear that these students will remember and stay in touch with the friends they’ve made at BU, and will carry the lessons of love and life onward.
These seniors seemed to easily pinpoint the experiences that have molded them into the adults they are now, but some reflections took a bit more ruminating. It was difficult for Lauren to recall specific regrets she had about her college life, which is probably a good thing, but she did mention that she wished she had better utilized the library during her freshmen and sophomore years. Likewise, Eileen reiterated how important it is to go to class in order to maintain good grades, and also wishes she would have taken advantage of the activities offered on campus. Elysse admitted that procrastination plagued her throughout college and that it was a challenge to stay on top of assignments, and many students can relate.
No, the college life is not glamorous, nor is it always rewarding, but, hopefully, most Bloomsburg University students will look back on their time here, thinking of themselves as the people they were four years ago, fresh out of high school, and will feel that all the ups and downs, infinite papers and tests, friendships and accomplishments will all have been worth it.
“I’ve learned that how you do in school doesn’t necessarily reflect how you do in real life. It all depends on your level of motivation which, I think, determines if you get to where you want to be,” replied Elysse when asked what would be the greatest lesson she would take away from her home-away-from-home in Bloomsburg.
These senior girls know now what it takes to succeed in college and have also grown enough to learn from the unfortunate things that occur; they are undoubtedly prepared, excited and a little fearful of the world outside that awaits them. As BU prepares to send off these students, along with the rest of the graduating class, into the working world, one can only help but wonder….
What new highs and lows, and do’s and dont’s will the next four years bring?