By Madison McCollum, Opinions Editor
I used to think the college experience would be a dream. That it would be like riding the high you get after three bottles of Coke, a Mutant Energy drink, and a severe lack of food. But, it’s not. It’s a constant roller coaster that goes up and down. There are good days, there are bad days, there are worse days, and there are the best days. And the hardest part?
Everyone’s on a different ride.
When I look back on who I used to be, I almost can’t believe it. I was quiet and always sat at the back of the class. I went to study sessions, but was too afraid to speak up because I was terrified of being wrong. I was passive and always afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. And now? Well, a transfer student that sits in front of me in my persuasion class literally turned to me and said “you’re a little wild today, aren’t you?” I’ll let you imagine the context, but it’s probably not as bad as you’re thinking.
The point is, I’ve learned a lot. Newman University prides itself on the educational aspect. They care about where their students are going to medical school or if they get their nursing license, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. I’ve learned from the people- from my relationships with students, whether good or bad, the faculty and the staff.
I’m a communication major. We’re not exactly cream of the crop here (or, rather, we might not be seen as such), but we have the unique ability to experience life with other people.
I’ve learned through my 20 minute conversations with Laura when I go to get the keys in the cafe. I’ve learned through finger guns and “I’m watching you” gestures from “Mr. Security Guy” and five minute conversations that turn into inside jokes between me and one of my favorite people. I’ve grown through “therapy” sessions with my boss that had just a few too many tears to count when my life seemed too busy that ended up with a step-by-step to-do list that he helped me sort through.
I’ve been blessed by conversations with Debbie Haslem when I might not be doing so hot and, between me and you, through the “breakfast” I got in the form of packaged cookies and Snicker Bars (that I always chose over fruit) any day I had a morning class in Sacred Heart.
I’ve grown a little jagged, sure, as all seniors do, through my experience with students, too. I’ve learned to speak up against the disrespectful. To call out the entitled athletes cutting in line when everyone else is complaining behind me, but too afraid to speak up. I’ve grown wise in the way of friends and stopped holding onto those that are only around when it’s fairweather and poured my time and affection into those who are willing to take a call at any time of day if I needed it.
It’s taken me four switches to my major to get where I am today. It’s taken long nights, tears, and maybe a little fear at being “less”, but I’ve experienced passion in what I do. I’ve had professors that have pushed me to embrace that passion and do the projects I’m interested in, and not just about what’s going to get me into medical school.
Newman University has been four years of ups and downs and while I can’t necessarily say I’ll miss it (I’m so tired, my dudes), I don’t regret it. I’ve changed in so many ways that there’s no possible way I could fit it into this piece.
Peace out, Newman University. I’ll be sending you well-wishes as I push forward and find my “why.”
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, University Relations