Well, that was fast.
I remember sitting with my good friend, Brian, roughly three-and-a-half years ago. We were speaking about how quickly high school went by. I remember distinctively saying that college wouldn't go by as fast.
The joke's on me.
The past four years have been an absolute blur. I went from being a little bastard that wanted to rule the world to a big bastard who has done a pretty good job at having a say at UB. I've found my soulmate, learned how much I really love and miss my family, enjoyed living on my own, gained two campus mothers who have brightened my life, found most of the groomsmen for my future wedding and I have made some of the greatest friends a guy could have.
Oh, and I conquered the Quad Stacker more times than there are arms on a group of five squid.
It's been a wild ride, indeed.
I'm mixed with how I feel, and I know that I'm not the only person who feels this way. Part of me is beyond excited to go into the real world. I've been fortunate to already begin a job in the field I love, so I know that I'm one of the lucky ones. And the taste of reality is making me want more.
Then again, the comfort that I've come to find here is something that I'm partially afraid to let go of. I've gained so much in these past four years that many people dream of getting thanks to the collegiate experience, but I'm afraid that it will all become a distant memory in the months to come.
So be it. I'm here. It's time to get busy.
With that being said, I can only tell you that you need to make college work for you – you can't expect everything to come to you with a bow tied around it. Suffer. Fight through the pain. It'll work out. I joined ENG 395 many moons ago, trying to fulfill a communication major requirement on non-fictional writing. Since then, I've been elected the editor-in-chief of The Spectrum and am graduating with three majors – including a journalism and mass communication major that I created on my own. And that was done in four years with no credit from high school.
It's going to sound corny, but George McFly says it best. If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
Beyond the accomplishments, who knows what is to come. But I know that I've had two angels by my side. And most of you know who they are.
Those damn mallards.
Yes, those two ducks – my girlfriend and I call them Lettuce and Tomato – have followed me for the past four years. They've been there when I was at my best, and they've been there when I've been at my worst. Taking romantic walks around the Ellicott Complex during my freshman and sophomore years has had its surprise greetings from the dynamic duo, which would always put a smile on my face.
And for the remaining two years of my undergraduate education, while enjoying the spoils of North Campus, they return to the lawn outside of my apartment at South Lake Village every night for dinner, provided by yours truly, and a few hours of shuteye. They've become a part of my life, and I'm beyond upset that I have to let them go.
Call me pathetic, but the simple things in life really mean the world to me. Thankfully, I know that they'll find another freshman walking around aimlessly. And I know that those wonderful creatures will have the same impact on them.
So here I sit, enjoying one of the last few days in the dungeon I've called home for the past three years. My entire life – not just the past four years – haunts my mind as my fingers tap on the keys. It's been quite a good one. And I'm ready for the next chapter. I'm ready to be kicked out by the new kid on the playground.
From the bottom of my heart, I hope he learns the life lessons I've gained from this experience, and I hope he provides to each and every one of you a far better publication than I have dreamt of. I know he can. I know he will. And that's the way it should be.
As I struggle to finish this final column, I've remembered when Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times columnist and author of The Soloist, shared with me a few words of wisdom when he visited UB.
"Give them hell, kid."
Steve, I hope I'm doing you justice.
Thanks for reading. I've had the time of my life.