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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Happy to have been, happy to leave

Published: April 27, 2007
Section: Opinions

So the time has finally come for me to write the mandatory goodbye column. As I look around at my fellow 07-ers, it is obvious that there are two type of seniors: those who are clinging to their last days of college life, and those who cant wait to get the hell out. I would certainly count myself among the latter. Ill be thrilled the moment that I get to fling my mortarboard in the air, take the celebratory family photo and move on.

My eagerness to sign the check-out forms doesnt mean that I disliked college or Brandeis in particular. The past four years have been the most productive of my life, academically, but more importantly, in figuring out who I am.

I am a very different person than I was in the fall of 2003. Looking back, I dont think I had much of a clue about who I was or what I wantedin terms of what to eat for dinner or what to do with my life. It took me a good four years to reach any type of plateau in terms of who I am, and it is really only the past few months that I am starting to feel like a real adult. (Only starting, mind you!)

For me there were certainly some rocky points along the way in terms of friends, roommates and boyfriends. Still, I know for a fact that all of my college experiences, good and bad, have contributed to the final product that I am leaving with. As a freshman, I was the definition of nave. I didnt know a thing about alcohol, drugs, sex, or any of those other icky/illicit college activities. I wasnt a complete nerd, despite sounding like one, but I was certainly innocent. Four years later, I am leaving with values that really arent all that different. It is my mindset that has undergone a change. Even now that I am of age, I dont drink that much, and I have by no means blossomed into a party animal. It seems as though I did have an idea of who I was before I arrived at 415 South Street, I just didnt know how to be comfortable in it. That is what Ive found these past years. It may have come at the high price of full tuition, but I suppose a strong sense of self is hard to come by.

Youll notice that not a whole lot of this Brandeis recap had to do with academics. At this school, academics are a given. If you work hard, youll get the education they promise in the brochure. Its the extra stuff that becomes more important, and what can ironically be the most challenging. We are lucky that we go to a university that allows us that freedom to tackle the challenge of figuring ourselves out.

This doesnt mean that the work will be done May 20th. Well all continue to change as we move on, out of the streets of Waltham, but I know that I am leaving with a solid base to grow from. And I am more than ready to confront whatever it is that awaits me. Many seniors are looking back and wondering whether or not Brandeis was the right place for them in the end. I know that this school was the right place for me. But thanks to everything I got out of Brandeis, I know Ill be perfectly happy to leave when they kick us out.