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Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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A message for fellow graduates: Revel in your nostalgia

Alright, seniors.

Four weeks left, including finals. Can you believe it?

I mean can you actually believe it? As a traditional student, I’ve been in school since the ripe young age of four years old—that’s seventeen years’ worth of waking up at ungodly hours to attend classes, grueling over homework, and learning about both things I was interested in and things that I wasn’t. I am sure many of you share comparable experiences.

I can’t speak for the rest of y’all, but it is difficult for me to imagine my world consisting of anything else. I will likely apply for graduate school next year, which means four to five more years of school, but for some of you, this is it. This is your last experience with a school system of any kind.

If this is you, then wherever you are reading this, can I get a whooping “Hell Yeah!”?

You made it! I don’t even know you, but I am proud of you. Despite our lack of knowledge about one another, we have shared an intimate, albeit distant journey by completing our undergraduate degrees here. I know what you went through to earn this diploma. I have bruised my knees on many of the same hoops.

With reality dawning quickly upon us, I think I am finally beginning to see that fine, white light at the end of the tunnel, the one glimmering with a faint blue band of bobbing graduation caps and the fuzzy image of T-Haas waving in a ceremonial gown from upon a lacquered stage.

Of course, unadulterated bliss is a rare thing; with joy often comes sacrifice. The people who will be sitting next to you at this graduation ceremony will be our roommates, classmates, boyfriends, girlfriends, brothers, and sisters. Come four weeks, we will be leaving them behind, too, along with our faculty mentors and this grand place herself, this Grand Valley.

In light of this sad truth, I challenge you to do a few things before you leave GVSU, as a revel in whatever nostalgia you have earned:

Cross the Little Mac Bridge, but not because you are rushing between classes, but leisurely and of your own accord. Climb down beneath her wide berth and traverse the ravines. Marvel in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Remember how it felt to be a freshman, when you may not have known anybody. Close your eyes, now look around at the university and imagine seeing it again for the first time when nothing was familiar. How did it look different?

Get lunch with a friend whom you met during your freshman or sophomore year, but have not talked to in a while. Listen to their stories. Sympathize.

If you get along with your roommates, drag all your mattresses into the living room and have a sleepover.

Buy a pizza from Papa Johns. I know it’s not great, but, heck, it’s certainly nostalgic. Share it with whoever is around. If no one is around, binge-eat all of it by yourself.

Stroll around Kleiner at night. Sit on a bench and people-watch.

Go to the Rec Center and work out like it’s New Year’s Resolution Week.

Go to Java City and buy a smoothie. Pretend that it’s healthy even if it invalidates your aforementioned workout.

Skip a class. Do not, I repeat, do not use this time to do homework. Use this time to do something you’ve been wanting do for a while but didn’t because you “don’t have time.”

Use this time to look up the email address of a professor who was particularly inspiring to you at some point over the course of the past four years. Let them know how much they influenced you.

Mourn the loss of what you have loved here.

Celebrate everything you have gained.

Get ready to keep moving forward.

Congratulate yourself—truly, you deserve it.



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