More than just a diploma or walking across a stage, graduating college means something. Marcus Blyden reflects on what the last four years taught him.
More than just a diploma or walking across a stage, graduating college means something. It’s a testament to the hard work and strong relationships you’ve made over the past four or five years. It’s a milestone, or, better yet, a bookmark in the story that is your life. A chapter you will revisit in memory as you scour through old photos or call up lifelong friends that were once roommates.
You’ll think of the good times and the bad. You’ll recall the professors that extended your paper’s due date when you came to them with a sob story. Unfortunately, you’ll also recall the professors who wouldn’t allow you to take a test because you were one minute late coming to class. You’ll reminisce on that behind-the-back beer pong shot for the win and chuckle at the thought of when you woke up one Sunday morning in someone else’s bushes duct taped to a headless mannequin.
You’ll remember the time your heart was broken by the girl or guy who sat behind you in class, as well as the friends who comforted or laughed at you until you felt better. You’ll remember your mistakes, and be glad you’ve grown, and you’ll remember your successes, and be grateful for the experience. Once you walk across that stage, college will be one big memory for you to cherish for the rest of your life.
It’s hard to put into words what my experience at N.C. State has meant to me. Since I graduated last Saturday, I’ve stopped at least a dozen times to think back on the countless “hell weeks” and final papers, coming to the conclusion that it was all worth it in the end. And as I think back to my first year, I know without a doubt that I am not the same person mentally that I was in 2013 — not due to just growing older, but because I was introduced to a diverse group of peers who challenged my own understanding of the world. If not just for the diploma, N.C. State was worth it because of the cultures and people I met during my four years, and that, I believe is indispensable.
So whether you’ve recently graduated or will in the next year, or two, or three, just know that it will be worth it in the end. Even if your college career starts off shaky, as mine surely did, you will be glad you made it all four years and even more so when you see the faces of proud friends and relatives at graduation.