I typed this up a couple of days ago but I decided to wait to put it up. As you know, I'm graduating tomorrow. This brings an end to my college career as well as my time as a student. Now, it's time to move on to bigger things. You'll have to pardon the length of the post, once I got started I just kind of kept typing until I was finished. I think it's all pretty important though. Well, here it is:
I'll be honest, I had been putting this one off for awhile- the official 2005 College Graduation Post. The reason is because this is such a major event for me, and I'm not quite sure quite how I can put my feelings about it down into text properly. Eventually I just realized I can't write the perfect entry, so why bother. I'm just gonna put down what I've been thinking and go from there.
First of all, it's really great that I am getting to graduate. Even if I always kind of took it for granted that it would happen, even if more and more people are graduating these days, it is still a significant accomplishment. I know a lot of bright people that haven't made it to this point. Another good point is that I will graduate in four years, with a pretty good GPA (3.4) especially in my major. That is, of course, after going on academic probation my first semester here. So at least being a nerd will pay off in that respect. Also thanks to my parents, I don't owe anyone a dime and I've got a good base for starting my life in the workforce.
But I'll be honest, I was bumming a little bit about graduation too. College has its fair share of difficulties but overall we all know it's a pretty cushy way of living. Also, this marks the end of my period of education in my life. For 17+ years, basically my whole life, that's all that I've been doing. When I look back at elementary, middle, and high school, and back through college, it seems tough in a way to see that it's all coming to an end.
What's been tough recently is that a lot of the people that I've met this year I will probably never see again. For whatever reason, this problem seemed really pronounced this year. Still, that's part of life, you can't keep up with everybody, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it. The fact that a lot of the people I've met in the last two years live in Japan has compounded the problem. I guess I've just got to try to stay in touch with the good ones as much as I can. But people move on in life, and that's just how it is it is.
Well while we're at it, let's take a look back at my life in college. High school, of course, was terrible. I applied to UNCC, NC State, and UNC Asheville, and I got accepted into all of them. I decided to go to UNCC, starting in the fall semester of 2001. I distinctly remember on the day I was to move into school, driving with my Dad on 485, and I almost panicked and told him to turn the car around, I'm going home. Fortunately, I kept my mouth shut and eventually settled into college life.
That was August 2001, and we all know what happened soon thereafter. So my whole college experience has kind of taken place under the cloud of 9/11 and terrorism. It couldn't be ignored as a cloud that hung a pall over everyday life. And to be honest, developments after 9/11 heightened my interest in politics and very likely contribited to me becoming a political science major. From there last four years and beyond, this is a topic that isn't going to go away anytime soon, unfortunately.
The rest of freshman year, I don't remember doing too much other than being on the computer all day and scraping by grade-wise. I actually ended up on academic probation after flunking Calculus my first year. Somehow I managed to pass it with a C the next semester, but the damage to my GPA was done. Sophomore year, I finally made up my mind to get off my ass and get involved, even if at first it was just small stuff like playing intramurals. By that time, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Japan, and getting bored by living at UNCC, I decided to take it.
So on September 16, 2003, I arrived in Narita Airport near Tokyo. This would be the start of one the most challenging and rewarding times I've had in my life. It was difficult at time to adjust to a new language and culture, but in doing so I learned a lot about the world and myself. Sounds cliche, but its true. The university I studied at, Obirin, was full of cool people and being close to Tokyo and Yokohama there were always a ton of things to see and do. Homestay was tough, but I found out a lot about everyday life in another country. Later, staying in an apartment was fun but it brought its own set of challenges like cooking when you can only recognize half of the foods in the supermarket. Eventually, it was time to come return to NC. While I was starting to miss everybody at home, it was still tough to leave, and I definitely need to go back as soon as I can.
I started my last year, my senior year, with high hopes that it would be the best one at Charlotte yet. To be honest, I'll feel kind of let down that I wasn't able to do more this year. Sure, I was able to get excellent grades, but there were a lot of missed opportunities like not being able to make it to the beach for spring break. I joined up with Model UN in the fall, but that ended kind of awkwardly and I didn't take the class in the spring- no Scotland trip for me. I did write for the school paper, which was rewarding, but in that I could only do it for one semester it was kind of limited. And for whatever reason, classes were particularly challenging this year. I specifically remember a couple of instances where I was about at my wit's end finishing up papers and studying for tests. But as it looks like I will get very strong grades my last year, it appears that everything worked out.
It's tough to leave what's familiar for a whole world of uncertainty. But I decided that it's key to have a positive attitude through all this. Again with the cliches, but it is one thing that I will have control over. Now as a college graduate I've got a world of opportunities and choices to make. I've just got to make sure I choose the right ones.