And the friends we won’t forget
Leaving college with thousands of pictures behind the diploma
I’ve taken 6,973 pictures throughout my time at UB – only 2,439 of which are social media appropriate. And almost all 6,835 times I’ve been met with groans and eye rolls from my friends or a typical, “No photos are good photos.”
But how else are we going to remember the late-night Nerf gun fights through Governors, the bus rides to South Campus frat parties, the spontaneous paper plate dodgeball games in our Greiner kitchen, the late-night excursions to Baird Point, the pranks, the thirsty Thursdays, the bonfires – all the moments that made college the best four years of my life.
This is supposed to be a goodbye column about my time at UB and about how grateful I am for my education and my experiences that made UB a great investment for my future. But everyone who attends college gets an education, and most get a diploma. Not everyone is fortunate enough to meet a group of people they will grow to call family.
What started as a gaggle of nervous freshmen crowded together in a third floor Governors’ lounge discussing Harry Potter has turned into a dramatic, incestuous, somewhat-alcoholic, tight-knit, loving, caring family of successful 22-year-olds with promising futures and almost 7,000 pictures worth of memories with one another.
And that’s what college is.
It’s not about the all-nighters pulled studying for a final, but about the all-nighters pulled because you’re staying up to watch the sunrise because you’re having too much fun to go to sleep.
My résumé will sum up my UB experience with a 3.7 GPA, internships at Sony Music and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a degree in communication – but that’s not what I’ll tell my future kids about. They will hear the stories of my friends’ addiction to Catch Phrase, when my guy friends stole all of the furniture in my apartment and about the nights staying up until 4 a.m. chatting with my best friend.
It will sum up my time at The Spectrum with a few lines about how I learned to manage a team and drove content to our website via social media channels, but that’s not even close to what my four years at The Spectrum has meant to me.
“But nobody even reads The Spectrum.”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard that sentence from my friends after I told them I was going into the office, then I’d be able to leave UB without any debt. I don’t necessarily disagree. To be honest, I didn’t read The Spectrum until I had to edit every article that was printed.
But being in 132 Student Union is about more than producing a newspaper every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It’s about how a group of kids can work together to produce something amazing and all of the ridiculous things that happen when 25 20-somethings are cooped up in a room all day together.
The Spectrum staff is more than co-workers – it is my second family at UB.
Although it’s a workplace, my résumé won’t tell you everything I’ve learned while being on staff at the newspaper. It won’t mention my first naked lap experience, the Moe’s nacho hangover cure, playing my first game of Kings, my first time getting into a bar (on my 20th birthday) or how the people at The Spectrum helped me become myself.
Without Aaron Mansfield, I wouldn’t be confident in my leadership abilities and without Lyzi White I would be clueless when it came to drinking, boys and being an adult.
And to Sara DiNatale, Alyssa McClure, Tom Dinki, Owen O’Brien and Emma Janicki – I don’t know if I would have made it through this semester if it weren’t for you guys tolerating my sassiness and being there to make me laugh.
As cliché as it is, college has been the best four years of my life. And if someone had asked me a month ago if I was excited about graduating I would have cringed at the use of “the G-word.” I wasn’t ready to leave my either of my families – on The Spectrum staff or off. I thought someone was going to have to drag me kicking and screaming across the stage to shake President Satish Tripathi’s hand.
But as much as it pains me to admit it: I’m ready.
Rachel Kramer is the managing editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org