Tomorrow it will all be history

Zach Wiita

It will all be over before you know it.

It’s going to take you a while to understand that, but I promise it’s true. Your first semester will be slow, your second semester will be faster, your second year will be much quicker, you won’t realize it’s been a year at the end of your third, and you’ll be staring down graduation so soon afterwards that you’ll be wondering how you could possibly have spent so much of your college career at Rosie’s.

The moments of transition in life can be deeply frightening. I’m sure many of you are experiencing that right now. More than likely, you’ve lived your life under Mom and Dad’s roof, and you’ve spent twelve years in the school system. Most of you are facing the prospect of living away from home for the first time.

You will soon find that college is different. You will find that you are held responsible for your behavior, and that the President of Kent State University will not be calling your parents if you skip class as your principal once did. You may end up paying for everything in college as you watch your peers get by on their parents’ money. There may be times when money is short and you don’t know how you’re going to pay tuition – or for meals. You will discover that you will be treated like an adult even when you want nothing more than to run and hide and be a kid again.

You will also discover that you are no longer beholden to anyone. You will find that the rules you will face are mostly those to which you have agreed – residence hall policies, or instance, or doing class work every day. You will find that those getting by on Mom and Dad’s dime have significantly fewer choices than those supporting themselves. You will learn that your life is in your own hands, and that you have the right to make decisions for yourself that will affect all your days yet to come.

The first and most practical piece of advice anyone can give you is this: Don’t be stupid. Don’t get loud and drink in the dorms, and don’t think you can throw a party without your R.A. noticing. Don’t cheat in class, don’t complain about having to do class work to which you have already agreed, and for goodness sake, don’t provoke the police.

More abstractly – and at the risk of sounding clichéd – always remember to appreciate every day at university. There are millions of people across the world who will never have the opportunity to earn a college education. As a college student, you are privileged.

The endless days of this world will pass more and more quickly as the years go on. The days of college, of sheltered adulthood, will pass by much too soon. Cherish the time you spend with your friends, the afternoons strolling along the campus, the evenings with your loved ones. Some of your friends you will never see again. Make sure that they know how much you care for them.

Always remember that there is no day but today.

It will all be over before you know it. But I promise you, you can make it pretty good while it lasts.

Zach Wiita was a senior political science and theatre studies major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].