If I could stay longer, I would

Chris Gates

They say college isn’t for everybody. What I realized in my four years at Kent State is that saying sure doesn’t apply to me.

College is for me. Or should I say, was?

It’s scary, but it’s the truth. The years I’ll never forget and never get back are coming to a close.

When I graduated from high school, I got so much advice from so many people. Looking back on it all, the advice I’d give to everyone still at Kent State is to take advantage of every opportunity you have.

My senior year was by far the best of my life, and it’s because I tried everything I wanted to do before graduation.

I reported on the presidential election, something I never even thought was possible. I also covered the Kent State men’s basketball team, which was my goal when I got here as a freshman aspiring to become a sports writer.

But there was more than that. I created a beer pong game that will hopefully go down in history as the greatest – or perhaps most epic – ever created. There was the party bus trip to Cleveland. Thursdays were 50-cent wings at Buffalo Wild Wings and, obviously, the bars on the weekends were priceless.

Those are the highlights, just to name a few.

Being at Kent State was so much more than getting an education. But the bigger part of college is what you experience while you’re here.

Each year has its uniqueness. Being a freshman and meeting new people is the start of it all. It’s the beginning of your path. You learn so much about yourself and other groups of people that year.

Sophomore year is when you begin to understand your place at Kent State. You continue to make friends, moving in with another group of new people in the dorms.

Junior year normally means moving off campus. Now you have a new sense of freedom. No more sneaking around to drink in the dorms and worrying about noise violations. A whole new world of food is available outside the dining halls.

Last is your senior year. Some of us let this year go on forever, staying for an extra semester or two. If I could, I would.

The graduating seniors are split in two halves: those who are itching to leave and those who long to stay here forever.

I’m undoubtedly part of the latter group, wishing I could have an extra semester to make even more memories here.

The town of Kent will always be special to me. I’m from Pittsburgh, a very proud town. I’ve always been a Pittsburgher, but I’m from Kent now, too.

They say graduating isn’t the end: It’s just the beginning. I wish I knew who “they” were and where “they” got their wisdom.

A real job and real life await, and I plan on using every experience from college along the way.

To those of you with more time at Kent State, enjoy it. When your time here winds down, don’t have any regrets.

For everyone graduating, I hope you made the most of your time here like I did. It’s been the best four years of my life.

Chris Gates is a senior newspaper journalism major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at at [email protected].