COLUMN: Real world can wait one more semester to stay on campus

By Phil Collins

A lot can happen in four years. Basketball teams can go from winning to losing, football teams can go from losing to winning and certain symbols can disappear from official existence.

Each semester goes by so fast, yet eight of them stacked together remind me just how much time has gone by.

Spending four years in a place like Champaign-Urbana can really give someone a sense of entrenchment in a community.

The area quickly developed into a second hometown for me.

So what do we do when it is time to leave? Where do we go from here? These are questions seniors have to face every year, along with “what are you going to do with that degree?” and “when are you going to close your tab?”

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    Well, to all of you graduating this May, congratulations and enjoy answering all those questions.

    As for me, semester nine is sounding pretty good right about now. That’s right, I’ll be closing my tab in December, thank you very much.

    I’m sure the work world is going to be great. I know this because when I watch “The Office,” I see plenty of free coffee going around.

    I’m fairly certain all I will need to get through a nine to five workday is a bottomless cup of hot caffeine.

    While we’re on the subject of this whole nine to five thing, doesn’t it sound kind of nice to be done at 5 p.m.?

    I wish I could just punch out at 5 p.m. every day, but then who would read about telegraphs and write about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer?”

    There is still work for me to do here, and I have a feeling I’m going to have a real job longer than four years. Possibly even longer than four and a half years. At least that’s the idea.

    Do me a favor. When you sit down at your desk to start filling out spreadsheets, take a moment to think of me sitting attentively in class or if it’s Friday, watching seven episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

    If there’s one thing I’ve figured out in the latter half of my college career, its how to avoid Friday classes. I’m pretty sure there are a lot more classes being offered in the Tuesday/Thursday slot than there were when I started here.

    Anyway, this fall will be my third consecutive semester without Friday classes.

    I don’t know what I’m going to do when I realize a weekend is actually only two days long.

    I suppose that when December does come, I’ll be ready to move on to the next thing.

    Even after nine semesters, I know it will be hard to leave.

    Four years ago when I was deciding what college I wanted to attend, the one thing I knew was that I wanted somewhere big.

    I wanted a school with a lot of people and a huge campus.

    I wanted a campus so big that by my senior year there would still be places I hadn’t been.

    That wish has come true in more ways than I thought it could.

    Champaign-Urbana is much more than Campustown.

    I love going to the downtown areas of Champaign and Urbana. They are so close to campus and yet they feel so completely different.

    The population of this area is much more than the students of this University.

    The local music scene is just one example of this that I have found particularly eye-opening.

    These may seem like obvious things to say, but they were not obvious to me when I started here, and I don’t think they are obvious to everyone here, even to some of those who have been here for a long time.

    So to everyone who is moving on right now – I hope you’ve enjoyed this community for all its worth. And to Champaign-Urbana – see you in August.