It’s the experience

Allison Pritchard

You’re graduating. It’s the beginning of the rest of your life.

I hate it when people say that. Screw them. Your life has already existed for 20-some years.

I find the annoying voice in my head thinking, “What have you done with the past four years?” Well, I’ve realized that drinking isn’t a bad thing that only the crazy wild kids do. I survived the first months of college and bonded with the girls in my dorm — I learned that everything doesn’t happen for a reason. Shit happens and it sucks.

In college we see a lot of things we hadn’t really seen before except for in Lifetime movies. I learned it’s easy to make acquaintances, but good friends are a bit harder to find. I experienced the pleasures of ordering a large pizza all for myself. I learned that life keeps going, and not to listen to anyone’s standards for your life.

There is no such thing as the “college experience.” There is no set list of things you must do to be a real college student. No matter what path you choose, you will always wish you did some things differently. You will always achieve things that other people wish they have.

As graduation approaches, I find myself going through stages. First there was denial. Then the “freak out” stage, where I was terribly nostalgic and didn’t want to leave the past four years of my life. Then anxiety. And now I am over it. I’m ready to graduate. Don’t get me wrong. I still have plenty of doubts and uncertainties, but I know I’ve grown too old for the playpen.

Words of advice to freshmen (or anyone)? Take one day at a time. Expect for bad things to happen. Expect for good things to happen. If something takes a hold of you, breathe for a few, and then figure out what you can do to change the situation at hand. Don’t be afraid to have emotions. Stand up for yourself. Sure, it’s all been said, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it.

During the three semesters I was a columnist here, I did a lot of joking around. I wrote about sex and beer and all that fun stuff, but in reality, I learned a lot of serious lessons. In the love department, I always say go for it, or you’ll never know. In friendship, I say, be forgiving. No one is going to be perfect, not even yourself. School? Don’t take it too seriously. Family is important, even if you don’t think so right now. (Thank you Mom and Dad for helping me move 5 gazillion times). Don’t pass up going to get a burger with your friend (or your sister). Doubts are normal. Especially during college, something will always be slightly off-kilter, but learn to live with it. You have the power to change things.

The biggest thing I’ve learned? We are young. We are so very young.

Whether I write a book, or a movie, or get married and have two kids, I’ll remember college. It doesn’t really matter where you went, or who you were friends with, or what your major was. It’s an experience. And isn’t that all life is made up of anyhow?

Allison Pritchard is a graduating electronic media production major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].