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The future shines bright for motivated UConn grads

By Devin O'Hara
On April 23, 2012

Graduation looms. I have my cap and gown and am in the process of wrapping up my last few projects and papers. My applications for internships and jobs are sent out, and I am eagerly awaiting reply. In my circle of friends two dispositions have cropped up: the first is looking forward to graduation, and the second is terrified of the world ahead. Despite the anxiety that comes with concluding any semester and the ambiguity of my future employment, I can say that I most definitely belong in the former camp.

I have made the most of these last four years. I made new friends, and I lost some old ones. I drank too much, and I ate too much. I learned science, math, writing and history. I discovered what I was good at, and I learned what I'm no good at. I challenged myself, and I failed myself. I hooked up, and I abstained. I lost a god, and I found another. I fell in love, and I fell out of love. I entered school a libertarian, became a Marxist and am now somewhere in the comfortable middle. In short, I have done a lot of growing up, but I can't stand to think that these four years will make up "the best years of my life."

I have finally arrived at the point where the atmosphere at UConn is stifling. I'm ready to assume my own agency, to really start my own life. I want to be responsible for my decisions and bear all of the consequences of my actions. College is, after all, the testing ground before real life kicks in, but now I have done all the growing up I can. I want a career and a home. I want to wear a tie to work and come home after a fulfilling eight-hour work day. I want to raise a family with somebody that I love.

However, I talk to some in my graduating class who, two weeks out, are still aimless, haven't applied anywhere, and seem wholly without ambition. They are, if you'll allow a bit of hyperbole, academic zombies. They mindlessly spend Thursday through Sunday night in a drunken haze, they have never read any of the assigned books for class, nor have they really applied themselves to anything besides a beer-pong match. They are, for all intents and purposes, the walking dead of this campus. I am fortunate that I did not become infected.

Yet it baffles me as to how there can be two radically different experiences of college. I don't feel like I am anymore capable of handling the experience than my counterparts, but it has had a radically different effect on my life. There are too many possibilities for me to begin to guess at the reason I feel so successful, so ready to move beyond college. Instead I'd rather advocate for those a year or two behind me.

In the remaining time that you have left, be sure to become involved. Challenge yourself and you will be rewarded. If there is one thing that college allows you to do, it's to make mistakes before you venture into the so-called real world. You will be rewarded with direction, with passion and with maturity. You won't have the opportunity to pine over your four years as an undergraduate because your life ahead of you will be full of excitement and progress. In short, make sure that you leave this university with more than just a degree and an increased alcohol tolerance. Leave with a vision, leave with excitement and leave with a clear future ahead of you.

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