The end of the semester is upon us. In one more week, finals will be over, Springfield College will be empty and the students will be home, enjoying homemade dinners, friends from home and anticipating Christmas.
The last first semester of my life has flown by. It seems like it was weeks ago that I was on campus a week early for NSO training. Now here I am studying for finals and looking forward to seeing my whole family home for the holiday, and that kind of scares me. This is my last ever Christmas break. I’m not going to get a month off when I have a job. This seems to have been a theme throughout the semester. Every event or tradition is marred by the thought that I won’t get to experience it again.
This feeling is especially clear when it comes to the swim team. There are a lot of traditions on the team ranging from practices that always happen at certain times to our Secret Santa. Invariably, a senior will suddenly speak up and say, “You know guys, this is our last biathlon.” And suddenly, you realize that as much as you dread the biathlon (it’s a 3-mile swim, followed by a 3-mile run, followed by a mile swim), and how bad your legs hurt after, that this is it. You won’t ever have to do it again. And that is a bittersweet feeling.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am ready to be done with school. I’m excited to see what next year brings. I’ve applied for AmeriCorps NCCC and will hopefully be spending the next year doing disaster relief in some far corner of this country. I’m excited to see what comes after that, to put my four years of journalistic training to work in a bigger arena than Springfield College. And I am more than ready to be done with classes, tests, projects and papers. I’ve spent the past four years preparing for life after college and I’m ready to start living that life, but I’m going to miss college.
With all of the “lasts” this semester, I’ve been feeling nostalgic and thinking back over the previous three and half years. The cliché that time flies by is half true. Yes, there are times when it seems that I was just receiving my beanie, but at the same time, I’ve changed so much and experienced so much. My advice is to make the most of it. Whether it feels like college is flying by or dragging along, which it often seems to be doing in the last week of classes, enjoy it. Enjoy every minute of college. It doesn’t last forever. I definitely look back and realize how much I took for granted. You honestly don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. For instance, I wish I had applied to be an NSO leader freshman year. Last year, I applied at the urging of a couple of my good friends who were involved with the program and with some misgivings, I did. I was nervous to be coming in as a senior, but I shouldn’t have been. NSO turned out to be one of the best memories I have of Springfield College so far. I never understood why those in the program loved it so much until I did it. It is hard to put into words what the experience is like, but it is a decision I’m glad I made.
So, as I write my last column of the fall semester, I just want to remind everyone to enjoy college while they can. Yes, you’ll be happy to graduate, but remember that you are in a unique time of life. We are blessed to be where we are. Most of the world does not have the opportunity to attend college. So make the most of your time.