By Ashley Fries
College graduation is a wonderful time in a person’s life. So much hard work and dedication has finally paid off. The real world is just days away from becoming their reality, no longer a distant idea that will someday happen. So many emotions rage within this special time and memories become something to deeply cherish.
When asked how this year’s 2014 graduates felt about graduating, I was greeted with extremely mixed answers. Most soon-to-be graduates couldn’t pick just one emotion. The few that did, however, said they were excited for graduation and their life after Kutztown. All other responses contained many emotions including, excited, happy, sad, worried and/or afraid. It is not uncommon for this range of emotions. College graduation can evoke several emotions, therefore, there is not one right emotion. You can feel happy about moving up in life, but sad about everything you are leaving behind. You can feel excited about life after college while being afraid of it. Are you ready? Are you prepared enough? So many questions and worries, but that should never stop you from being excited about this monumental event in your life.
During college you experience so many things, it is hard to pick a favorite memory. But, when asked if you had to choose one favorite memory from college, this year’s graduates shared very similar favorites. The most common memories involved meeting and having fun with best friends and significant others. This includes but is not limited to, meeting friends in classes, the dance team and sports teams. One graduate said their favorite memory was getting told by a professor they had written one of the most creative research papers they had ever read. While another said their favorite memory was all-nighters watching movies and playing video games. Overall, the trend seemed to be meeting and spending time with friends in some form or another. This is not surprising as college is a very social place and many people meeting their life partners and life-long best friends while in college. However, it is refreshing to see that not all favorite memories were friend related, that some had academic memories as well.
It is highly unlikely that someone will go through such a life experience without some regrets. When this year’s graduates were asked what theirs were they were almost all identical. The regret of not getting more involved, not making more friends and stressing so much that they missed out on having fun was the most common. There were a few graduates that admitted their biggest regret was not caring enough about grades early on in their college career, making it hard to keep up a good-grade-point average later on with the hard classes. This too is rather expected. The years fly by and before you know it, it is time to graduate and you realized they went by too fast. That you may not have put yourself out there enough and met more people. But, it is never too late to make friends. Graduates can still put themselves out there and meet some people before graduation.
What will you take away?
At the end of the day, college is all about learning inside and outside of the classroom. With everything you experience you are bound to take something away from it. Therefore, when these graduates were asked what they felt is the most important thing they have learned or what they will take away from college, their answers were similar but had more variety. One graduate said taking all opportunities in life while another said real life is full of stress and you may not get along with everyone but you have to find a way to manage it all. Always give 100 percent in everything you do, said one graduate. Overall, most responses included something along the lines of getting out there and making connections, experience everything you can, make memories, stress management, and how to run on little to no sleep. Overall, it is evident that most graduates feel they will take away how to manage all the challenges life can offer and how to make the best out of any situation, which is a great thing to take away.
Favorite and least favorite thing about college
No matter how we try, we will always end up picking a favorite and least favorite thing in every situation. This year’s graduates had almost identical favorites when the majority answered, the independence and the people, whether that be meeting them, just being around them or connecting with them.
When it comes to the least favorite thing, they were all pretty much on the same page there too. The majority said homework and stress. But, a few also said the cost of everything and certain building such as the library and gym not being open 24/7. Overall, they were able to pick a specific favorite and least favorite thing which only goes to show it is what we do with every situation anyway.
Miss most and least
Overall, when asked what the graduates will miss the most after leaving KU they had similar answers but some differed greatly. Some of the answers included but are not limited to missing their friends, the professors, the beautiful campus, the freedom and overall being a student. However, one graduate surprised me in saying they will actually miss not having to work so much, that they enjoyed the work load and will find it mundane to just do corporate work.
When asked what they will miss least, the answers were almost the same. On average most of the graduates said they would miss the homework, stress and studying for exams the least. Other than those answers some graduates said they would not miss the expensive cost of college and the actions of other students on campus that give the university a bad name.
When the graduates were asked if they has anything else to say about their college experience some choose to give a closing statement such as its been a real roller coaster, I’m going to miss this place and it’s been real. Furthemore, one graduate said, “I had a great time at college. The hours of studying and homework has paid off. KU has been an awesome experience.” While others chose to give advice to underclassmen and incoming freshmen. This advice includes but is not limited to not holding back, make friends, get involved and make the most of this time. Furthermore, one graduate said, “Don’t waste it. Be nice to everyone and try to learn about everything you can…once it’s over you cannot go back and change things. Don’t waste these years, make good decisions, don’t be lazy and have a lot of fun.”
You have been through a lot to get to this point be proud of yourselves and all that you have accomplished. Make the most of the little time left you have as an undergraduate and after graduation go out into the real world and make the most of it. Cherish all of the memories and people you have meet along the way but, never stop moving forward. Congratulations to all of the 2014 Kutztown University graduates from all of us here at The Keystone!