Alana George, Campus Carrier copy editor
Sixteen days. That is how long I have left as of this piece being published. I only have sixteen days left as a Berry student until I make the inevitable transition to being a Berry alum. It’s surreal – I really don’t know how to put my feelings about it into words. Right now, I have too much to do before I graduate to really feel all my emotions, so I am just trying to enjoy every minute I have left and not be sad in the moment.
I feel that the best way for me to cope with facing this inevitable reality is for me to offer advice to those coming up after me. When I was an underclassman, I always looked up to the juniors and seniors, thinking they knew everything there was to know about life in and after college, but now that I am one, I can assure you that I really don’t know that much. And it is completely fine to not know everything before graduation, especially not knowing where you will work – I do not have a full-time job lined up yet, but I have found a lot of peace about that. I can only speak to my own experience, as each of us experiences college life differently, and what I can say from my own experience is that you will miss the little things in the college experience the most.
Let me clarify what I mean by the little things. Of course, it is normal to miss the big events, like Marthapalooza, Mountain Day Olympics and Finals Fest. But once you graduate (or when graduation is looming ahead of you, coming closer by the day), you will find a new appreciation for the things throughout your day that you didn’t notice before. Saying hi to people you know as you walk to class will become cherished interactions. The small breaks you have in your day to sit and do homework with a cup of coffee become priceless. You will take full advantage of your FlexBucks before you must start paying for all your food out of your own pocket. You will sit in your student work office, or wherever you work, and smile as you hear your coworkers banter with each other and crack jokes. You may even see your best friend in a whole new light, as you sit across from her in those blue fabric chairs in Krannert and realize how much you’re going to miss seeing her almost every day.
I encourage you, dear reader, to look up from your phone and take out your AirPods for a few minutes as you walk to class to just appreciate where you are. Whether the sky is gloomy gray or brilliantly blue, whether the trees waving hello are green, brown, orange or gold, whether the birds are quiet or singing their hearts out, there is beauty all around you, in nature and in people. Berry really is a bubble, and as much as we desire to escape it sometimes, it really should be appreciated as a sanctuary where we can grow and change as human beings in a safe, loving environment, rather than a prison that traps us in. Trust me, you will miss this bubble as you sit down to pay bills for the first time and realize how much things really do cost. Berry people are so special, and the community we have built in the absence of Greek life and other dividers is so rare, and we really don’t realize how amazing our friends are until we don’t see them in class, around the dorm or at work every day.
Enjoy every moment and every interaction you have on this campus, big and small. Do not take anything for granted, because you will miss every single part of it dearly when it is gone. And when you do end up as a senior experiencing all your lasts, take a moment to slow down and reflect on how much you have grown and how blessed you have been by Berry and its people. Writing this, my last op-ed, is that moment for me, and as I sit here listening to the hustle and bustle of Krannert during lunch time, across from my best friend whom I have only known for two years but now I cannot imagine my life without, my heart is full, and I finally feel ready to spread my wings and soar.