Friday, May 11, 2018

Suddenly, you’re walking across the stage

Seeing myself in my cap and gown for the first time, I can’t help but think about all of the little pieces of life that led me here. I will be the first in my family to graduate from a four-year university, and there were honestly so many times when I didn’t think I would even make it here.

Freshman year I even considered transferring. The years I’ve spent at Bloomsburg have been fun, terrifying, soul crushing, magical and amazing. Not to say I wouldn’t do some things differently if I could, but as they say, hindsight is 20-20.

I would tell myself not to worry so much. Of course, every freshman worries. They worry about who they’ll eat lunch with, if they’ll get lost looking for their classes. They wonder if they’re supposed to ask to use the bathroom during class (I asked to go to the bathroom in my first college class EVER and everyone laughed so if you have to go, save yourself the shame and just slip out quietly). Things will work out. Let yourself enjoy the newness of college and be open to learning as you go.

I would tell myself to talk to EVERYONE. People you meet in the elevator, people you sit next to in class, people in line as you wait for food. That’s the one, surefire way to make friends. Just start chatting about the weather or the homework from the previous class, and suddenly you’ve got someone to eat lunch with tomorrow, or study at Starbucks with. Take comfort in knowing that 95 percent of the people around you feel the same way you do, and just want people to talk to and understand the struggles of college life.

I would tell myself to say yes more. Go to more football games, go to more drag shows, go to more bingo nights. Go to more parties, go to more dance showcases, get more pink wieners. I can assure you, you’ll regret the times you said no more than the times you said yes. If something seems even remotely interesting, do it. Join a club and only go to one meeting, sign up for an intramural sport only to realize you have no coordination. The only way to find your people is to try literally everything until you do.

I would tell myself to enjoy every, single moment. Not just the big things, but everything. Getting late night with your friends, ordering Chinese food to the dorms, signing the lease for your first apartment, the first time you ever got a $2 bill from $2 Bob, getting breakfast with your roommates telling stories of the previous night. Take in every moment, because one day you'll think you have all the time in the world to do the things you’ve always wanted to in college, and then suddenly you’re walking across the stage wondering where the time even went.

Being a college student has changed me in both the best and the worst ways, and I wouldn’t trade a single second of it. I have grown more in these four years than I have in my entire life, and I am so proud of the person I am today. I am a Stranger Things enthusiast, I am a lover of pretzellinis, I am a local sorority member, I am a public relations professional, and I am now a Bloomsburg University alumna!

— Danielle Backowski, senior mass communications major #HuskyLife

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