For the last semester of undergraduate education, it’s very common for seniors to pick the lightest schedule they can. The light is at the end of the tunnel, senioritis sets in and the urge to say “Cs get degrees” is strong.
I, however, did not have that luxury. I have to take a full 15 credit hour schedule, complete with two capstone courses and a 7:30 a.m. business law class. Yuck.
Besides the extremely early wake up for that last class, what I was least looking forward to was a class on East Campus three days a week. It’s not that I held any prejudices against East Campus before this semester; I was annoyed about having to factor in a fairly significant commute, and navigating public transit seemed like a pain. I had never had a class anywhere other than City Campus, and my last semester of college felt like an annoying time to branch out.
However, East Campus has surprised me with how much I have enjoyed it in the first few weeks of the semester. I’ve had a great time exploring East Campus’ renovated union and new learning commons. I’ve met some fellow students who are based on East Campus, reminding me that others inhabit different corners of the university than I do. And, honestly, I’ve enjoyed how quiet it is. It feels like a much more peaceful and less hectic City Campus.
To be fair, I’m not trying to cast East Campus as some hidden paradise located just a mile or two away from City Campus. It’s largely made up of stone, sterile-looking buildings that are typical of college campuses, and much of the flora and fauna that makes East Campus so beautiful the rest of the year have yet to bloom.
I’ve looked within myself to figure out why exactly I relish going to East Campus three times a week, and what I’ve come up with is this: over the last few months, I had already started to grow nostalgic for my college experience, even while I’m still in it.
Have you ever been on the precipice of dramatic change in your life and desperately tried to hold onto every last drop of the status quo before it’s gone? That’s the best way I can describe my mindset as I stare down the barrel of the last dozen or so weeks of education, maybe ever.
When we UNL students cross the commencement stage and shake Ronnie Green’s hand (if you’re on his side of the stage), we officially end the main form of structure we’ve experienced in life. We are all locked into the same routine of daily learning for over 15 years, from preschool to college, and then, suddenly, it’s over. What will I be doing for the next 30-40 years of my life? Who am I if not a burnt out student constantly worrying about my grades?
But while worrying about what’s next, I have failed to consistently appreciate where I am now. I’m living with some of my closest friends and very much in love with my girlfriend, all while running this humble little publication that has defined my college experience. It has its bumps and bruises, as life does, but I consider myself to be pretty lucky.
And this is where I circle back to East Campus. Why has taking the bus three times a week to learn about agricultural economics excited me so much? Because it’s a change. As mentioned, I’ve never had a class there, and could probably count on one hand the times I’ve been there before this spring. By switching up my routine, I’ve reminded myself that change is good. Change is natural. The winds of change are coming for us all, whether we like it or not.
And, if you try to worry about it and reject it before it comes, you won’t enjoy the here and now. I have typically been a very future-oriented person throughout my life, constantly worrying about what’s around the corner. But recently, I’ve consciously tried to live more in the moment, appreciating where I’m at now while recognizing that, as Frank Sinatra once crooned, the best is yet to come.
If you’re a graduating senior like me, I hope you look back fondly on this period of learning and growing and failing and doubting before it’s gone for good. I don’t want to romanticize the college experience too much; it’s horribly stressful at times, costs an exorbitant amount of money and is a broken system in many ways.
But for many, it is the last step until we are full-on adults. I hope you will have fond memories from college like my own that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life. Soak them up while they last with the reassurance that great things are coming around the bend.
So, for my fellow seniors stressed about what’s next, relax. Take a deep breath. Life after college will figure itself out, and you’ll figure out a little bit more about yourself every day. And hey, maybe you’ll soon experience a new wrinkle in life that, while seemingly insignificant, will remind you that everything will be okay.
David Berman is a senior journalism, advertising and public relations and marketing triple major. Reach him at email@example.com.