Last year a lot of my friends had graduated and the one thing every single one of them told me as I went into my last year of college was this: “it’s going to go by fast; enjoy it while you can.” Not only were they right, in my opinion it was a severe understatement. The fall semester felt like it was over as soon as it begun and the spring semester feels almost as if everything over the past several months happened in a matter of week.
People ranging from younger students and faculty to friends and family are all asking me if I’m excited to graduate. The answer is “yes and no.” People ask why and I say it’s a bittersweet situation. As my roommate and I had discussed just last week, we are ready to graduate, start great careers and start earning real salary and commissions. However, we are nowhere near ready to let go of the college life-style. The huge house parties, the cheap prices at the college bars, always having Fridays off (if you’re a marketing/business major), the freedom of minimal responsibility, staying up until all hours of the night and being able to push through the next day; all is going to be, for the most part, gone.
My roommate and I both said if we could rewind life back to freshman year and start over, we would. Not because we have any regrets (though everyone has some) it would be entirely for the purpose of going through the entire experience again. If I had even just one more year in college there are some things I would do that I wasn’t able. I was recruited to be part of the Experiential Learning Center, where a small group of students act as consultants to a business on a real business issue. Due to scheduling and the academic path I chose, far too many people said it was too much work to handle (and I’m the kind of person who takes on everything, so it says a lot when you’re told more than once not to do it). One more year, and I would be the first to apply and tell every faculty coach why I should be on their consulting project. I also would like to have had one more chance to scrape together enough funds to study abroad since I couldn’t afford to go this past year. That’s academically, but on the personal side of life, it is tough to say what things I would do that I’ve yet to accomplish. I wouldn’t do anything differently, I would continue trying to take advantage of every moment and seize every opportunity from going out to forming new relationships. I can only hope that if incoming college students stumble across this post that they go to school with the notion that it will go by quick and they need to take advantage of everything as early as possible.
I’ve come to a point in life where I have to make a huge transition that I’m kind of ready for but kind of sad for it to be over. College has certainly been one of the best chapters of my life and I’ve accumulated a great deal of stories and memories. So much so that I’ve been told more than once my life should have been a reality show during my tenure at NIU. It’s part of growing up though; you can’t be in college forever (unless you’re Van Wilder and take seven years to complete you’re undergrad). However, I still plan on maintaining the relationships I’ve established here to the best of my ability. That includes not only friends, but the professionals I’ve met and the faculty I’ve come to know and love.
Chicago Express Game (March 30, 2012)
Blackhawks Game (March 29, 2012)
New Years Eve 2011 – 2012
NIU vs Wisconsin at Soldier Field (September 2011)
First world student problems: Yesterday as I was going through my classes I noticed my foot was wet and wasn’t sure why. Turns out I have a very small hole at the heel of my shoe where the rubber wore away just enough for water to seep in. It is absolutely annoying being in Barsema Hall for a nine hour day and having a wet foot. It drove me nuts!! Looks like I’m going to have to buy new ones, unless I only wear these when it’s dry outside.
As a ‘broke college student’ I don’t exactly have the discretionary income to spring for a fifty or sixty dollar pair of Adidas at the moment, but once June comes around and I have a full time base salary.. well… lets just say I’m going to hit the ground running (with dry shoes)!
Senior year… there are far too many thoughts in my head about it. A lot of people coast through senior year and I anticipated being one of them. Unfortunately that isn’t anywhere near accurate.
I only have four courses, two of which are capstone courses but the work load is moderate to semi-high. Hurray. The next factor is adding in my job in the Office of the Dean, responsibilities as VP and President of a marketing organization and sales organization respectively, and being a finalist in the world’s largest sales competition. Luckily I’m not scheduled to work that many NIU athletic events this semester, phew.
I feel the pressure building because I need to be practicing all my material for the World Collegiate Sales Open so I represent NIU to the best of my abilities but it is tough to make this my top priority when I have homework, projects, quizzes, upcoming exams, board meetings and chapter meetings taking up time.
In the past two weeks I’ve capitalized on one of the perks of my job; free coffee. I still won’t classify myself as a coffee drinker (hate the taste) but it’s a cost effective way for me to get my caffeine fix so professors aren’t staring at my eye lids in class. I’m not trying to convey that I don’t like my classes, they are very interesting and I enjoy the material. But let’s face it, when you don’t have a whole lot of time to sleep the most interesting material in the world won’t keep you awake. Not this guy anyway. I have several friends who are under just as much pressure with activities and feeling similarly overwhelmed, so I know I’m not alone. It’s been more than worth it being as active and involved as I am and even though it’s tough, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
A former professor of mine tells us, “work hard; play hard.” I think it’s a fair mentality to have, working hard all week and having great times on the weekend with your friends. I don’t even care at this point how much sleep I’m getting or am not getting. I take a new direction in life three months from now so I have to squeeze every last drop out of college life while I can.
My dad graduated from NIU in the early 80s and when he was bringing me to campus for orientation and my private tour given by him and his knowledge of campus one of the memories he shared was that of William the Goose. He said everyone on campus knew William; it was as if he was the school’s unofficial mascot who almost always could be found at the East Lagoon. He even flew around the football field during one of the homecoming games as well. My dad said that despite William running after students, the goose would occasionally hang out by Altgeld and was actually very fond of NIU’s president and vice versa.
To this day if my dad calls on an NIU alum from that time he mentions William the Goose in his introductory sales calls. The memory of ‘NIU’s #1 Alum’ as they say, still lives on today..
Now 30+ years later as I prepare to graduate the relationship students have with the Geese on campus does not cease. Whether it be the crazy protective goose a few years ago who chased people by the Chick Evans Field House or any of the other geese who can be spotted all over campus. These Geese have joined our generation unlike in my dad’s day. The geese now have a voice in the online social world via Twitter: @NIUGeese.
Geese for whatever reason are still a humorously popular topic as the Northern Star has published articles about geese, students always have interesting incidents with geese, and now they have 281 followers as of February 13, 2012. It is only going to continue to grow as the NIU Geese turn out to be pretty comical with such posts as:
“I dream of the day when a goose can serve our country as president”
“#30thingsaboutme 18. I have a higher vertical than Michael Jordan. If only I had hands to hold a ball!”
“#30thingsaboutme 22. I enjoy chasing freshman around campus”
“If Red Bull #GivesYouWingswhat does it give us? Maybe a weird third wing like the one my cousin Leroy was born with? #creepy”
What might be funnier than some of @NIUGeese’s individual tweets are the conversations they are carrying with people in the NIU community. Topics range from telling football fans that the Geese keep up with workouts in case Coach Doeren needs any wide receivers, all the way to students mockingly suggesting skinny dipping with the geese and not condoning drinking and flying.
If you’re on twitter and enjoy following something that will give you a laugh make sure you follow @NIUGeese.