In two weeks I will walk across the stage, shake Chancellor Drake’s hand for the first and last time, walk down the stairs and back to my seat as a UC Irvine graduate. The experience that I’ve been anticipating my entire academic life, from kindergarten till now, will have arrived.
Here I am, about to graduate and writing a farewell column for the New University, the thing that scared me the most out of all my years at UCI. But now, it’s the achievement I am most proud of, and the achievement that I still sometimes believe that I don’t deserve. But here I am, one year as a staff writer under my belt and one year as Features Editor coming to a close. I remember when Jessica Pratt, our EIC, called me last year, the same day that I found out that I had been chosen to be a Mesa Court RA and a SPOP staffer and been offered a returner position at Camino del Sol. I already felt like I was a unicorn flying on a cloud of rainbows. When Jessica called and offered the position to me, I think my response went something like this: “What? Are you sure?”
I was convinced that I was their last option.
In the beginning of my junior year, I told myself to suck it up and just write an article. I had been putting it off for two years, too scared to put my writing out into the world and open to criticism. My first article was a review on Wilco’s new album. I spent the whole week religiously listening, taking notes and reading other reviews. The following Tuesday, publication day, I speed walked to Phoenix Grill to get my daily bagel and pick up a copy. I flipped to the Entertainment section. I didn’t see my article. Turns out, my first ever article that I wrote for the New U would never be seen in the print issue. Jun Im and Michael Chin, I will always feel like you took candy from a baby. This baby, to be exact.
But here I am, the Features Editor. I went from being so afraid of having my work published, to having an insatiable drive to see my work printed in black ink.
College goes by in a blink of an eye. So freshmen readers, revel in the next three years that are to come. Don’t be like me. If you have the faintest desire to do something, do it. If you like someone, tell them. If you want to get to know a professor, talk to them. If you want to write an article for the New U, definitely do it.
Sophomores, get ready to work hard. Get ready to feel older. To be older. Take on more responsibility and accountability. Make mistakes, but learn from them. Deepen your friendships. Study harder.
Juniors, you’re going to be entering your final year. Make the most of it. Make it count. Sink your teeth into every moment that you’re presented with.
To my fellow seniors, are you scared? It’s okay, most of us are. But I hope the excitement eclipses the fears and the nerves. They say that college is the best four years of your life. I disagree. My four years at UCI were filled with so much confusion, a lot of pain, stress, worry, nervousness and just a bit of failure.
The four years that went by surprised me with what I accomplished. I was amazed with the risks I took and the on which chances I gambled. Sometimes, I don’t even recognize myself from the shy and self-conscious individual that I thought I was. Turns out, when I want something I go all out for it.
So UCI, thank you for all the times you challenged me, tested me, scared me, hurt me, held my hand, brought me up, gave me hope and made me ready for the years that are to come.
Filed Under: Opinion