As I sit awake well after midnight while my roommate sleeps, I’ve come to realize that this may be one of the last times I will be doing this. Staying up late to get work done has been part of every student’s routine, and to realize it will be coming to an end is a relief — and completely frightening at the same time. Soon I won’t have to worry about finishing my homework, but I also won’t be living with one of my best friends.
Am I ready to leave this place that has been my home away from home, where I learned how to be an adult, without my mother to hold my hand? Yes, I am, and I’m going to miss this place with all of its assets and flaws.
As seniors, we have gone through so much in a matter of four years that it may seem unbelievable to others. Loss, economic decline, health care reform and cuts in education funding are only a few of the obstacles we have had to contend with, and while many others are ahead of us, we have proved time and time again that we can make it through.
When I came to Rider as a freshman, I thought I knew, well, everything. I was so wrong. I had no idea how to live with other people, how to manage my time, what classes would count towards my various requirements or how to deal with it all without falling apart. Being at Rider taught me all of that.
There are a few things that Rider has taught me that aren’t in any textbook or included in any final, and I will take those with me no matter where I end up after I get my degree.
Not everyone is going to give you all of the answers you want. The professors and staff have taught me that if I want things to happen, I have to be the one to do it. Success, and any of its benefits, is only given to those who actually put the work in, no matter how late they stay up to make sure it gets done on time. The life you want is not going to be handed to you on a silver platter; you have to earn it. If you want that grade, that internship, that job, your teachers can point you in the right direction, but it’s up to you to move forward and work for it.
We may not get what we want, when we want, even if we try, and that’s OK. There will always be obstacles in your way, and unfortunately, bad things happen that you can’t control. Take the time to pull yourself back together, look at what you could’ve done better, look to others who have done what you want and learn from their example. You’ll be better prepared to put yourself back out there in your pursuit. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt to get results.
Be open to experience. This is the time to find yourself, and as cliché as it sounds, this is the time to experiment. Ever wanted to write a book, stand up for a cause or join the club that would’ve been deemed too weird in high school? Now’s your chance. Rider provides so many ways to get involved in everything that may interest you and gives you the perfect opportunity to meet some amazing people while doing so. And if there’s a chance it doesn’t, it could be your opportunity to create one.
As much as we all try to hide from it, the end is near. We won’t be here to watch the rest of you pick up where we left off and continue to improve things both on and off campus, but we have faith that you will make us all proud.
Copy editor, class of 2010