Opinion column: The final rebirth

By David Johnson

It’s that time of year. The trees that recently stood dormant as skeletons are budding leaves and birds are mating left and right. The definitive element of our newfound beauty is the deathly stench wafting into campus from the South Farms. These signs of spring also signal the impending end of the semester (now but three weeks away) and, for most of us, the end of the school year.

For others (myself included), it’s not only the end of the school year, but also the end of our years at school. For us, this time is inevitably not only about what the future holds, but also about reflecting upon our four (sometimes three, sometimes six) years here. Many aspects of our college lives we’ll never experience again; this fact begs the question of whether that’s a good or bad thing. Obviously, it’s a bit of both. So as I prepare to enter the “real world” and somehow manage to not flunk my courses this semester, I leave you with one senior’s take on the unique experience of the University of Illinois.

Things I’ll miss:

n Our beautiful campus. The main quad, south quad and engineering quad are all gorgeous and give such a wonderful feeling when full of people bustling to and fro; going to learn, relaxing or just doing nothing at all. The miscellaneous crazy people lurking about make it that much more of an intriguing experience.

n The social scene. There are not too many places where most students can go out to the bars even if they aren’t 21. There are so many people and clubs you’re hard pressed not to find people you’re compatible with. And aside from that creepy 30-year-old dude who shows up at house parties, everyone is around our age.

n The academic environment. Granted we’re the no. 4 party school, but we’re pretty smart too (most of the time).

n Sleeping whenever. I can sleep in until 10 a.m., take a nap from 3-6 p.m. … and that’s on a day I have class. Friday I do what I want.

n The sports. I’ll be in Chicago for a while, and if the recent past is any indication, we won’t have any no. 1 teams for a long time. And no, the Cubs don’t count, sorry.

n The fresh slate every semester. In the “real world,” you have a job. And you might be at that job a year. Or maybe 25 years. In college, you take a set of classes one semester, mix it up the next. Your schedule changes. Each year, your living arrangements change. Want new friends? Want to be surrounded by newer, more interesting people? No problem.

Things I won’t miss:

n When teachers conspire to have two tests, an essay and a major presentation on the same day. This has happened to me countless times and the sleepless nights and stress-induced illness will gladly be left behind.

n Drunken brats vandalizing my car. I really don’t get why alcohol makes people think that causing hundreds of dollars worth of damage is a good idea. There are some 21-year-olds on this campus who are less responsible than I and most of my friends were at age 15. I won’t miss you guys.

n The Chief debate. The argument over the legitimacy of Illiniwek has plagued Champaign-Urbana since I arrived. Honestly, as long as Chief Wahoo represents a team named the Cleveland Indians, I think there are much bigger issues than the beleaguered Illinois mascot. Move on, folks.

n Spending $500 for books that teachers may or may not assign reading in. It’s quite frustrating to shell out $100 for a textbook that you use once and sell back at the end of the semester for $25. That was one expensive night of studying.

Those of you with time left, take heed: that ridiculous sleep schedule and the ability to go out and party on twelve consecutive nights (as my roommate famously did) are luxuries that should be exploited to their fullest. Get that no. 4 ranking up while we still have time.