College. A year ago when I heard this word, I could only think of how terrified I was to move away from home. Though I was excited, I couldn't help but to be nervous. Going four hours away from home to live in a new place, where I had never lived before, made me want to stay in high school forever. However, after always being told that "change is good," I decided to enter this new chapter of my life with a positive outlook.
After being in Memphis for only a few days, I knew I was going to love the University of Memphis and the city of Memphis. I had made some of the best friends I will ever have during my first week at Memphis, I had joined several on-campus organizations, and I loved not having to wake up by 6:30 a.m. to get ready for school.
Balancing my time was probably one of the most difficult things I encountered during my first year of college. My parents were not there telling me to stay in and do my homework, and there were more people asking me to make a midnight run to Perkins to "study." After a few midnight runs to Perkins that turned into three-hour goof-off sessions, I learned that four or five hours of sleep is simply not enough. I have determined that any college student can nap, sleep, or daydream, anywhere, any time of the day, at the drop of a hat. At least I know I can.
Though academics are the most important part of college, throughout this past year I learned that your years in college literally fly by. The time and laughter that you share with the people you meet cannot be repeated.
To the graduating Class of 2010: Through your first year of college, make life-long friends, concentrate on your grades, get involved on campus, whether through sports, student government, Greek life, etc., and have fun. Many college freshmen concentrate too much on having fun and don't concentrate enough on their grades. While others concentrate too much on their grades, and not enough on having fun and making the most of their college experience. I encourage you to keep a healthy balance between the two. You are attending college in order to receive an education, however, the years you spend in college will most likely be the best years of your life. Do not let them pass you by.
You will make mistakes. Believe me, I made plenty throughout my freshman year. However, you learn greatly from those mistakes. I can't even begin to think of all of the life lessons I have learned in simply one year of college. I encourage you to learn from your mistakes and grow from them. Have fun and make memories, but remember to keep up with your school work. If you remember to do these two things, I can guarantee you will have an unforgettable freshman year.
One of my most vivid memories of my freshman year is the annual Up til Dawn Finale which is held every spring.
Students, faculty, and the general public are invited to this event as a way to raise awareness for Up til Dawn, a student organization that raises money for St. Jude Children's Hospital. The event is held from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. as a way to honor the children who are fighting for their lives and staying "Up til Dawn" to fight cancer. I remember seeing such a diverse group of people at this event. There were men and women from every Greek organization on campus, there were athletes, there were students involved with student government, and there were members of minority organizations. These students all had one thing in common: they were there for the kids of St. Jude.
One thing I remember, aside from being completely exhausted, was that these students did not have to be there. They could have been out partying, but instead they were at this event for the kids of St. Jude. Another thing I would like to encourage students to do is to give back to the community where you live. Serving others is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had through my college experience so far.
For the graduating Class of 2010 and any other college student, remember to have fun, make memories, focus on your academics and give back to your community, and you will have an absolutely unforgettable college experience.