COLUMN:Pondering my own graduation as seniors prepare to leave UI

By Melissa Silverberg

Not even a year after speaking at my own high school graduation, I am contemplating college graduation – not my own of course, but the University class of 2008.

It’s terrifying for me to even imagine graduating college and moving on to the real world right now, but I know it will happen someday.

While the rest of us are weighed down by finals, the class of 2008 is preparing for graduation, new jobs, moving or even continuing their education. Hopefully their time at the University, both in and out of class, has prepared them well for any situation they may face in the future.

Although neither of my parents hold college degrees, they were able to work their way up and create a successful life for me and my sister. Most likely because of this fact, for them to see my sister graduate from Illinois in 2006 was one of the best experiences of their lives, or so they have told me.

Even if your parents were valedictorians of their college, they will be so proud of all that you have accomplished in four years, that they might just forget all the times you called them begging to send money or trying to explain a drinking ticket or bad grade in a class.

While some students may see the graduation ceremony as a boring few hours of sitting in a hot gymnasium and listening to speakers they probably do not know, it really signifies so much more.

It tells of the tests you crammed for, the quizzes you forgot about, the classes you loved and the ones you hated, the nights you stayed in to study and the nights when you should have stayed in but went out anyway.

After four years of working hard and maybe partying harder, students walk away with a piece of paper that is supposed to sum up all of their time at college. Whether that diploma hangs in a frame above your office or sits in a desk drawer for the rest of your life, it shows that no matter what else went on during those four years, you did go to class and lessons and come out of it smarter.

Although I am just finishing up my first year at college, I can already tell how much the University has to teach us. There are the lessons you learn in huge lectures in Lincoln Hall, those you learn from new friends and those you learn from yourself.

As I pack up my boxes to move back home and say good-bye to everyone I have met this year, it shows how quickly the time goes when you don’t even realize it.

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m already about to be a sophomore in college. I remember not understanding where the 22 would take me or where some building called “Greg” was. Now I feel like I know everything about this campus, but I know I still have so much more to learn.

For the seniors graduating, I hope you have enjoyed every minute of you time here. And for the rest of you underclassmen, don’t overthink the past, just live in the present and enjoy it because it will be gone too soon.

Some people think college is supposed to be the best years of your life. For 22-year-old graduates, knowing their best years are behind them could seem a little depressing. I hope that these years have been fantastic, but always believe that the best is yet to come, never behind you.

I look forward to my own graduation in three years, although I hope it doesn’t come too fast.

Since I’m still new around here, I will leave the words of wisdom to a few of The Daily Illini’s graduating seniors.

To those who will be graduating and moving on, those of us who will be sticking around for a little bit longer wish you the best of luck. You will always be Illini.