Marks: Farewell, University of Oregon

Originally Posted on Emerald Media via UWIRE

Dear University of Oregon,

From the time I first started taking classes here as a senior in high school to my college graduation three years later, my life has changed dramatically. I dropped out of another school, transferred here, founded and let fade away an a cappella group, joined a journalism community, withdrew from a term, changed majors twice, lost a family member, and now, here I am: about to cross the finish line.

For many students, college graduation represents the start of a new phase of life — one in which they become part of “the real world.” This is where their lives start.

I used to think that way, but I don’t anymore. My life has already started and will continue throughout the next year I take off school before I move out of state to go to law school. For me, graduation does not represent a major change in my life. Instead, this major change has occurred over the two years I’ve spent here.

The University of Oregon has been instrumental in me becoming the person I am today. When I first got here, I had transferred from another school and was still planning to major in chemistry; however, I struggled in more advanced chemistry classes, and as a result, found myself without a major. The next term, I took a political science class and fell in love with the topic, declaring the major a term later.

I also auditioned for two a cappella groups when I first arrived, and I’m actually grateful I didn’t get in — the setback inspired me to create my own. My LGBTQ+ group was short-lived, but the experience allowed me to work on my leadership skills and work on music with people in my community.

Finally, I sought out the Emerald, hoping to find a place to work on my writing skills. I originally applied for the news desk but was placed on opinion. The placement was well-made, and I flourished with the opportunity to write about issues that were important to me. The Emerald also provided a variety of opportunities, giving me work experience as an editor, news writer and copy editor. When I first started, I didn’t realize writing was a skill, and now it’s one I’ll never take for granted.

Although I’m happy to be getting my undergraduate degree and preparing to leave Eugene behind, the University of Oregon helped me get back on my feet. The instructors I’ve learned from, the peers I’ve met and the friends I’ve made have influenced me immeasurably. The person I have become today would not be possible without the wide expanse of opportunities UO gave me.

To current students, enjoy the time you have here. Take this opportunity to learn seriously, but make sure you have some fun as well. Build relationships with fellow students and professors alike — you never know which connections might help you along later in life. Finally, acknowledge that you’ll probably leave this place a completely different person than when you started. I certainly did.

So, thank you, UO. For the good times and bad.

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