A Student’s Farewell to College Life

Jeremy Bellman, Contributing Writer

The day has come that I never thought would come soon enough: graduation.

As Tony Stark said in “Endgame,” “part of the journey is the end,” and I have had quite the journey in only the four years.

One of my first memories was feeling excited and terrified about starting a new chapter of my life. I chose to go to a school 2,000 miles away from home and my family. I had no idea what to expect from this place or the people who were here. On my first day, I attended a talk by a motivational speaker for the new freshmen class. I remember her saying, “College is not the best four years of your life, it’s the first four years of your life.” Prior to coming to school, I expected college to really be the best four years of my life, but now I understand what she meant.

I can look at myself four years ago: the quiet, shy freshmen who didn’t know anyone on campus, save for the roommate he met over Facebook before school started. When school started, I became friends with all my suitemates and began to learn about east coast culture. Being an outgoing, optimistic, and talkative individual from Los Angeles, I was intimidated by how serious, sarcastic, and passive-aggressive some people were here, and they always seemed to be in a rush to get somewhere. Now I understand that it’s just the people up here who have lived their lives differently than I. Thanks to the east coast and the people, I grew a thicker skin and learned to stand up for myself: something I could not do when I was in high school.

College also presented me with new opportunities that I was hesitant about. First, I got my own radio show with my suitemate. I would never expect myself to host a radio show and play the music I wanted in addition to talking about whatever I wanted.

Second, and to this day I find it unbelievable that I did this, I joined a fraternity. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a million times, but I never thought I would be someone who would join a fraternity. I am happy to say that it is the best decision I’ve made in my life. Through this decision, I made hundreds of new friends, got involved on campus, became a leader in my community, and grew into a confident and courageous person who seized every opportunity I could get my hands on.

Looking back at these last couple of years, I could say that I had a great experience in college, though not every day was sunny. I will admit that I’ve had my share of down times. I had depression for the first two years up here and was also extremely anxious. I made hundreds of friends, but I also lost some who brought toxicity into my life. I didn’t always get what I wanted, either. I would work hard in many aspects of my life and wouldn’t get appreciated or recognized enough. Sometimes I was ready to give up. But that is how life is supposed to be. It throws you a few dark days so that you can appreciate the hundreds of bright ones even more.

To anyone reading this, I want you to know that this chapter of your life is one where you will find out who you are, which people will stick by you no matter what, and where you experience moments which you have never had before. At first, I was terrified of leaving this place because I was unsure of who I was and what was waiting for me outside this campus, but now, I am ready to leave. As one of my favorite movies said, “I’m not leaving because I’m scared, or because I think I’m not enough – because maybe for the first time in my life, I know I am. (That’s from “Crazy Rich Asians.”)

One day, you will be in the same place I am now, and you will look back at these years and realize what a journey you had. Every decision and step you made brought you to where you are today and it has made you into the person you are.

I want to thank every friend, acquaintance, professor, mentor, and individual who has ever crossed my life one way or another. Without you, I wouldn’t be here, days away from crossing the stage for the first time since high school. Here’s to graduation and here’s to the next chapter of our lives.