Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Looking back to move forward

Over three and a half years ago on a hot and humid August morning I remember pulling onto campus with my mom in her blue Ford Freestyle. We followed the signs that directed us towards Williamson Hall and we pulled up on the sidewalk and began unpacking. I remember exchanging awkward glances and head nods with different kids on my floor, a few of who I currently share an apartment with today. We had an extremely tight floor, which really helped mold my non-academic career at UNH. It has been an absolutely insane few years for me at UNH and I do not plan to change that for my last couple of months here.

On of the most common things I’ve written, whether it is in this column or on my blog, is that I would not start worrying about life in the “real world” until the second semester senior year. Now that I am a second semester senior, even now that my final spring break has ended, I can say that not much has changed. Am I worried about my future? No, not really. Am I anxious about finding a job out there? That is starting to build a little more with each passing week. Am I going to miss UNH, the friends I’ve made here and all our shenanigans? Absolutely.

I have always been the easygoing “one-day at a time” type of person. For example, I commonly say “well, I can always just start that paper tomorrow.” I am honestly not sure if it is good or bad that I am like this, but it definitely makes things a lot less stressful, which is a huge bonus in college and my grades have always been really well. If there is one thing I have noticed that hurt people in their college careers, it is not being able to appropriately deal with the levels of stress they encounter.

UNH has been such a special place for me and with graduation (that evil “G” word that should not be spoken) right around the corner it is safe to say that I would not have wanted to go anywhere else. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t change anything. To put it simply I wish I could have done more during my time here, to have made a bigger impact on the UNH community.

UNH is far from perfect, but it has been such a perfect fit for me. I’m more educated, well rounded and I can honestly say that the most important thing that college has taught me is to think on my own. But to put that in even simpler terms, college had taught me how to think. That is really important.

Side note to the Union Leader: notice how I said UNH has taught me “how” to think and not “what” to think. There is a major difference. UNH has done more for this state and our young people than the Union Leader could ever dream of doing.

Academics aside, UNH has done even better things for me. Most important to me is my close group of friends. These are people who I know I will remain in contact with for the rest of my life no matter where our different paths take us. A major knock against UNH that many people have is that we lack a strong sense of community and traditions. But UNH is what you make of it and that freedom is undeniable. Whether your best friend is a specific carrel in Dimond or your floor mates from freshman year, UNH is everything you allow it to be.

As a senior who is about to move on I would like to issue a challenge to the underclassman here. Never be satisfied, always strive for more out of yourself, your school and this state. UNH is a fantastic place, but it is up the students to make it even better. Even if it is something simple like changing quiet hours, the students have proven that we have the upper hand against the administration if you use it correctly.

Continue to make the UNH community stronger by creating new traditions and our school will become impossible for the state to ignore. UNH already deserves a higher respect from the state, we are its flagship university, but until the voters and the people in Concord, and sadly the people who run the Union Leader because it is the state’s only major newspaper realize that, UNH is going to have to keep fighting for itself. The administration cannot do that alone, so student support is absolutely necessary. Keep fighting, do not be satisfied and demand respect because UNH deserves it.

Stay classy, not UMassy

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