How does one’s time as a college student come to define them?



People say that high school is supposed to be the best time of your life. I am inclined to disagree with that statement.

When I graduated from high school I was one of the only people in my class who almost cried on stage. To this day I cannot exactly say why.

Yes, high school is a big part of everyone’s lives. Twelve years is a very long time. But it was in no way the best time of my life.

I have had a much better college experience than I ever had in high school. Escaping my hometown, and coming out to Allegheny and being on my own for really the first time in my life really turned me into the kind of person that I wanted to be, and a person that I can really be proud of being. I do not know if I would say that college was the best time of my life either, though. I do not think any certain time in a person’s life has to be defined as that, exactly. I think it can be different for everyone. And I hope my best days are still to come.

When I look back at the person I was in high school, I cannot help but almost wince and really just try not to think about it. Looking back on it, I was not happy with the person that I was back then. But, I am now. And a lot of that is thanks to coming to Allegheny.

Of course, every academic institution has its problems, because nobody and nothing is perfect. It was not always good, but it certainly was not always bad either.

It was a very nice change to be able to wake up in the morning and actually be excited about going to class for once, and to be able to choose what I wanted to learn and where I wanted to go.

Of course, I do not remember every little thing that has happened to me since arriving on this campus, because how could I? But I remember the important things — the things that I hope I will never forget.

College is more than just classes. It’s about more than just getting an education. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone, no matter how cliché that sounds. It’s about the friendships you make and the adventures you have. It’s about looking back at the end of four years, or for me, three and a half, and being proud of how far you have come from the person that you used to be, and being excited for what comes next.

Four years ago, when I first stepped foot onto this campus, I could never have guessed where I would be today. I certainly never could have imagined the historic time that I would be graduating from college and going out into the world. But, personally, I really never would have guessed where I would end up as a person.

I do not usually like to talk about myself. I do not think I usually notice these types of things about myself in the first place.

My confidence has grown, in more ways than one. In high school I used to barely talk. I had maybe two actual good friends. I was slowly starting to grow out of it by the time I graduated, but it was enough that my senior superlative was still quietest, something that I still find slightly annoying to this day.

When I was a first-year, I had no idea how to make friends. But somehow I connected to the people on my floor that year, and made some of the best friends I have ever had, even if I no longer see them every day. Then I joined Dumbledore’s Army.

I have no words to describe the friendships I made in that club. It was the first real club that I joined on campus, and the one that I stuck with all the way until the end, and that I somehow ended up as secretary of my junior year, and that I am ending as a Co-Vice President of. I found my fellow weirdos in that club and made friendships that I hope I will never ever lose.

And then, at the end of freshman year, I became a news editor for The Campus, and everything changed.

I still cannot say what made me do it, except that I saw the MyAllegheny post, and I thought it might be fun to try a different type of writing. My first semester I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. But by my second semester on staff I was the only one on the news section who knew what they were doing.

My experience as a part of the newspaper is something that I will never forget. More than anything, it came to define my college experience, and it turned me into the person I wanted to be.

If it was not for the newspaper, I do not think I would ever have actually figured out how to talk to people, or how to participate in a college class. I certainly never would have been able to just walk up to someone and ask to do an interview. And I definitely never would have ended my college career with both the President and Provost and many other administrators knowing me by name.

Without The Campus, I do not know where I would be right now, or who I would be. I do know that there were many things that I have experienced on this campus, both good and bad, that I never would have gotten to experience without it. I never would have gotten the chance to actually sit down for an interview with a celebrity from a Broadway show that I absolutely love. To this day, that is still my favorite article that I have ever gotten to write.

Without the newspaper, I would not have ended my college career with one of the best roommates that I have ever had, during my final semester.

I certainly never would have experienced things such as finding a burned newspaper outside the newsroom door, or receiving emails from someone referring to themselves as Ida Tarbell — both very memorable experiences.

Somehow, at the end of it all, I am sitting here as Co-Editor-in-Chief, about to enter into my final print issue on The Campus. It is a very nostalgic feeling to say the least.

I have made many friends in many different places during my time on this campus. But the people I have met as a part of the newspaper, especially in my final semester as Co-EIC are more than just my friends. They are more like my family. And I hope I will never forget or lose contact with a single one of them.

I used to be scared about the future. To be honest, I still am. The fact that my senior comp is now due in less than two weeks is extremely nerve-wracking, and then there is just the idea that I have actually made it to where I am graduating. Sometimes I still cannot believe it, even if in about two weeks I will never be a student on this campus ever again.

But at the same time, this is just the next step to achieving everything that I have ever wanted to do with my life. I have dreamed of being an actual published author — not just a self-published one on Amazon, but more than that — since I was in third grade. Since then I have added more to my dreams, including becoming a farmer and now a journalist. All of these things can actually begin to happen for me now after a few more weeks. It still feels unreal.

My time at Allegheny College was another chapter in my life. It is one that now ever so slowly is beginning to close. It is something that I hope I will always be able to look back on with fondness and happy memories.

I have no regrets.

Only a few weeks left, Allegheny. I do not have much left to say, and so I will wrap up the final article that I will ever write for The Campus newspaper with one of my favorite songs from “Hamilton,” titled “One Last Time”.

“We’re going to teach them how to say goodbye,” the song says. “Teach them how to say goodbye. Say goodbye, say goodbye. One last time.”   

Thank you Allegheny. Thank you for everything.