Graduation is inevitable, but enjoy college while you can

By Brady Fredericksen | 12/9/12 3:14pm


GVL / Robert Mathews
2012 Fall Commencement

Graduation is a weird time.

It’s a period where you’re excited because, hey, there’s no more pop quizzes or research papers to ever do again. Then, you’re also devastated because there will be no more living the semi-charmed life of a college student.

You know what I was most worried about going into graduation on Saturday? Not who I’d walk with or what I’d go do after — I was worried about what pose I was going to do when the camera caught me after shaking President Haas’ hand.

I went with the Heisman pose — fitting, considering I’m kind of the GVSU sports guy and the award was given to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel on Saturday — but unlike Johnny Football, it’s now exams and out for myself and so many other graduates.

Graduation is a process, and it’s one of the most polarizing processes in life. You hate college sometimes, but you love it most of the time — it’s one of those things that you just tend to take advantage of.

Not that taking advantage of what’s presented is a bad thing. College is all about going out, meeting people and making mistakes. That’s why you go to college — not only to prepare yourself for your career, but also to work out all of the kinks in your life, too.

Think about it this way, it’s a whole lot smarter to learn to hold your alcohol now than to find out a few years down the road at your company’s holiday party that when you drink Jäger things tend to not go well for you.

Believe me, I got to work as the sports editor here at the Lanthorn for one and a half years and I used that title in every way possible. Whether it was talking to Jimmy Howard and Niklas Kronwall after the Red Wings’ Red and White exhibition game or traveling to Augusta, Ga. last week covering the GVSU soccer team in the NCAA Final Four, I found a way to take advantage of things myself.

Then again, I suppose, in some ways, I was the unluckiest of charms for athletics at GVSU. My tenure came during a time where the soccer team went from winning national championships to coming up short late in the postseason and the football team became, well, mortal for the first time in our young lives.

Maybe it’s better for all you sports fans that I get the heck out of here, right?

This whole experience of college is an internal battle for your mortality — but it’s a battle you don’t actually recognize until it’s too late. Graduation is that sign of light, and once you see it on the horizon you really start to look back and realize that the last four years are really coming to a close.
As a freshman, you’re naïve and easily moldable.

Then, as a sophomore, you’re a year into college and you turn into a confident, perhaps cocky, because you get to live off-campus and live in your own apartment.

Junior year rolls around and you realize that your entire sophomore year is, for the most part, impossible to replicate and be a success. At this point you’re nearly grown up and you’re kind of thinking about your career.

Now, you’re a senior. You look at yourself in a totally different light than you did at the start of this process. You’re basically over the fun you had early in college and now you’re thinking more about what job you’re going to apply for next, not what beer you’re going to purchase.

Then you’re done.

I’m not sure I can tell you what comes after that because, quite frankly, I don’t know either. What I can tell you is enjoy it now and take life as it comes.

You’re going to miss college, and it’s going to happen eventually, so don’t take advantage of the life you’ve got now because, as Ferris Bueller said best, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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