Staff Farewell by Kristie Kang

When looking back at my past four years at UC Irvine, I find myself wondering how it flew by so quickly. Another four years have slipped through my fingers forever. But whether I’m ready to accept it or not, my inevitable future has arrived.

No longer will I be able to casually roll out of bed at half past noon, throw on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, “cook” a healthy “breakfast” and march off to my one and only class of the day. No longer will I be able to go on late-night Yogurtland runs with my roommates and stay up until 3 a.m. just to finish watching “Mean Girls” for the hundredth time.

No sir. Now is the time for me to “grow up” and take my first steps into the big, bad real world. No more money-gig jobs at Limited Too or Juice It Up! but actual, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job jobs. It’s time to put my skills to the ultimate test.

But the funny thing about putting my “skills” to the test is the fact that I truly and honestly don’t feel that UCI has properly equipped me with the academic tools needed to enter the real world. With that being said, I do, however, feel that UCI has played a huge role in making me the person who I am today.

Flashback to my first year in the dorms in Mesa Court: My first taste of freedom. “Hallelujah!” I thought. “I’m finally living away from my parents!” But little did I know that my first year on my own was actually the year that brought me closer to my parents. It was almost as if I had a sudden epiphany just sitting in my little dorm room, realizing that I had a truly unique, incredible, loving and straight-up awesome family. And I have the UCI dorms to thank for that.

Moving on from there, my second and third years seem to be kind of a blur. Aside from the typical boy drama, family quarrels, house parties and of course school work, these two years were nothing out of the ordinary.

It was probably not until my fourth and final year that everything started happening all at once.

The first life-changing moment of my senior year was hands-down my job at the New University. There is nothing in this world that I have both hated and loved more than the New U. Not only has this newspaper consumed my life (including, and especially my weekends), but it has provided me with both an adequate foundation for a real journalistic career and a true family. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I will actually miss the loud, blaring music playing in the office while I frantically try to edit last-minute articles as well as swarms of crumpled up paper being chucked from across the room. I love and will miss each and every one of you guys next year (especially you, copy team!).

The second, and probably the most difficult, life-changing moment would have to be the passing away of my grandpa. The reason that this particular moment was so influential was not the fact that I was exceptionally close to him, but the fact that his death was completely and absolutely accidental. In coping with this loss, I have adopted a fresh, new and more positive outlook on life. Life is too short to worry about the little things, which is why I try to live life to its fullest. So, carpe diem, seize the day. Do everything you possibly can to make this life into the life you’ve always wanted it to be.

Last, but certainly not least, is a moment that I experienced just a few weeks ago – the moment in which I realized that after four years of college, I still have absolutely no idea what I want to do in life. The thing about being an English major is that your career options seem to be very limited, and up until now I strongly believed that I would take on a career in the journalism world. I was recently hired as an editorial assistant for Orange Coast magazine (via our very own Zotlink) in which I perform various fact-checking tasks. However, it was with this internship that I have discovered that I really cannot picture myself as a true journalist.

And with that, my future is once again an empty book and I couldn’t be more terrified. But with that terror and unknown future comes a strangely attractive freedom – a freedom to start anew and punch my life into full gear. Thank you UCI. It’s been a great, confusing, fulfilling and frustrating four years.