Today, as I sit here in my room, as I procrastinate packing when I am supposed to be moving out in about a week, and as I try to study for my last finals, I realized that the world lied to me. As I prepare to graduate in about a week, I feel unsatisfied not only with the idea of graduating college, but of also leaving UC Davis behind. I am sure that most of us were told by our parents that college will be “the best years of your life,” and as I think about that now, I laugh. To think that the best years of a person’s life span from the age of 18-22 and happen solely in one place, now that is humor. But they were so serious when they told me this, waving goodbye through the car window as they drove away, leaving me behind with a twin size bed and a box of power bars. Today I sit here and am calling my parents out and anyone else who told me this on their bullshit.
For the past few months I have been in a panic, feeling uncertain about every aspect in my life. What am I going to do next year? Where should we go to dinner, because this could be our last time here you know? What alcohol should we drink, should we try to wean ourselves off for the real world? Why is it alumni and not alumns? To sum up my final year at UC Davis, I would say I am constantly filled with a sense of un-satisfaction, and yes I know that is not a word. For the past year I have felt pressured to exert myself completely and squeeze every element of fun and life out of college I can, because it’s the best years of my life right? After this it all goes downhill and the worst part is we are only 22! Bullshit.
To most the word un-satisfied carries a sense of negative meaning, but let me clarify. I am thankful I am not satisfied. I am grateful I do not feel completely in a state of peace or bliss. I am not satisfied, and because of this, I want more. College has given me the best experiences of my life thus far. That one time someone fell asleep on the toilet. That time we danced for a mile. The broken tank top strap. The island. These memories are nice, they are numerous, and they will be with me forever, but they have also made me realize that they will not be the last of their kind. To me college has been one giant brownie dessert, but I have only been given one bite and I am hungry for more. To think that we believed once these years were done we would become boring fun-suckers, and to think there are still some of us out there who still believe this. I tell you we are only 22, and we have not even begun.
In four years I have learned to never drink white wine on an empty stomach, that riding your bike at night makes you feeling like you are flying, that cows actually cannot be tipped, and that learning is surprisingly cool and fun. In four years I have given my heart away and had it returned, I have chipped a front tooth, I have had two shoulder surgeries, and I have said goodbye to a sport I loved. In four years I have learned to fear squirrels, to realize the best drunk food is oatmeal and peanut butter, and that changing your major is not the end of the world, because I did it three times and am still alive. In four years I have learned to respect people and embrace their flaws, I found my best friend in a chemistry tutoring session and another the first day of my senior year, and I learned that my parents actually are pretty cool humans. In four years I realized I love reading and writing, but am still unsure as to what my purpose in life is, and can say honestly I have not used algebra or geometry in my life since freshmen year. In four years I have learned friends are the most valuable possession a person can have and that you won’t remember the midterm you will take tomorrow at 8am, but you will remember missing the opportunity to make memories. I learned that I felt more satisfied with $5 in my bank account than $50 and that saying thank you is never outdated or said too often. If I have done all these things in four years and can walk away satisfied, then I have done something wrong, then I truly have not lived.
So thank you Davis for giving me this sense of un-satisfaction. Thank you for pushing me out into the real world with a sense of fear and uncertainty. Thank you for showing me the uniqueness of college and the ability to feel both alone and connected to so many individuals. Thank you for pushing me to want more of what you gave me, for instilling in me a belief that the best is yet to come. And thank you for leaving me wanting more, and giving me the resources to go out and get it.
So as I sit here, still at my desk, still starring at the room I have called home for the last 3 years and the one I will be saying goodbye to in about a week, I am satisfied with my un-satisfaction. One of my professors once said the best way to eat an elephant is to eat it one chunk at a time, meaning that if we want to have success and continual happiness, we must remember to keep in mind the short-term goals. College has been one of the best short-term goals I have achieved in my life thus far, but like the elephant, it is just one chunk of a much larger goal. We have made it through four years and yet we are so young. We must continue to stay hungry, to stay humble, to embrace mistakes, to make our enthusiasm infectious, to stay determined to improve, to want more. We must remember to keep our own dreams as close to reality as we can until they become our reality, and most importantly we must remember that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. May we continue to crave more out of life, and remember the days of when we were an Aggie as the very beginning of the best to come, as the first chunk of something greater. Here’s to us 2015, let’s go be someone.