The first sentence is always the hardest for me every time I write. As most of my friends know I am not one to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’m embarrassed to admit that up until these last few weeks of college, I have continued this previous trend of showing few emotions, and I ask myself why? Why did it take me four years to realize how special my college experience has been to me? Why have I not been able to show others how much this experience and the people in it have meant to me? I have spent my entire life living in the moment, never dwelling in my past or looking too far into my future. While attempting to move out of SAE and pack up all my belongings that I have accumulated over these past four years, nostalgia hit me. So I thought I’d share a few “thoughts” about what college has meant to me here in Lincoln.
First thought: These past four years have taught me that there are few things in life that truly matter. For me, it wasn’t that I’ll leave this place with a 4.0 or that when I graduate (December 2014) I will have some prestigious job waiting for me that pays 100K a year (I’ll have a teachers salary). The one thing that has truly mattered to me are the relationships I have formed here at UNL and the memories I have created with those people. I can’t guarantee that these relationships will last after college, only time will tell, but in the moment, these relationships have felt absolutely sincere. Whether it was at a house party freshmen year, or dancing in the back bar of the Brass Rail senior year, each person I met along the way played a part in what made my four-year experience wonderful.
Second thought: I’d like to consider myself one of the lucky ones. I was able to do many things that most college kids do not get to experience (something to this day that I can’t thank my parents enough for). I was fortunate enough to study abroad at Jesus College in Oxford, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, I drank until sunrise in Cancun for spring break, and took multiple weekend trips during the fall semesters to places like Wisconsin, Chicago and Minneapolis to cheer on my Huskers. Trips I wouldn’t trade my life for. These memories that I hold dear to my heart are what they are because of the people that I shared them with. Without my friends by my side, these places are just spots on the map.
Third thought: Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Signing that bid card at the SAE tailgate in summer of 2010 was the best decision I’ve ever made. Joining a fraternity set me up for the best possible college experience an incoming high school kid could expect to have, or even imagine. Many may smirk at my previous statement and say that I simply “bought” my friends by joining the Greek system. While I understand and respect this perspective from someone who never joined a house, I can’t help but smirk back. By joining a fraternity and becoming a member of the Greek system, I was thrown into what felt like a lion’s den, knowing few people. However, I came out of that lion’s den with the greatest support system a college student could ask for. I have made connections with some of the funniest, most intelligent and most driven group of people on UNL’s campus. I owe this whole experience to the house that made me who I am today, SAE.
- You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, take shots.
- Get good grades. Don’t cut this experience short, for your sake and your parent’s sake.
- Get out of Nebraska; take a random road trip or study abroad with your friends. You’ll never forget those memories.
- Blare your guilty pleasure whenever you can, even if you’re embarrassed by it. Chances are it’s someone else’s guilty pleasure as well. I will never be ashamed to play some Whitney Houston.
- Day drinking outweighs drinking at night every damn time; this is best done on Barry’s rooftop or The Bar. Three words: Friday Afternoon Club.
- Befriend the bartender’s downtown, your wallet will thank you later.
- Wednesday nights are the cheapest (and often the most fun) nights downtown, go out on Wednesday nights.
- Make new friends, but don’t forget who your old ones are.
- The best days of college every year are (Sorority) Bid Day and the first Husker Game Day.
- Never take anything or anyone for granted; you never know how good something is until it’s gone.
After four years here, it’s hard to begin to explain how much my experience at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has meant to me. To say it was the best four years of my life is an understatement. This campus, this town, the people I have met along the way have changed me as a person, for the better. They have prepared me for the next chapter of my life, as much as I don’t want this current chapter to end. So thank you to everyone I’ve befriended throughout college, i’ll never forget this chapter of my life. I am confident in saying that there is truly no place like Nebraska.
There’s an old saying, “that all good things must to come to an end.” In my eyes, college is one of those good things.