News editor ready to go, not ready to forget

I want to say that, when I walk across the stage May 11, I’m literally going to walk past my seat in Flowers Hall, out the door, down Pine Street and not stop until I get to somewhere not here.

I want to say that, but I can’t. I want to say that because I’m hearing it — or some form of it — from so many of my fellow soon-to-be May 2013 UNA graduates.

The truth is that I’ll sit back down after crossing the stage. I might even shed one (only one) manly tear sitting there waiting for the UNA big wigs I’ve loved to hate to tell me I can go home.

And that tear won’t drop only from utter boredom, either. I’ve still got four weeks to go, and I’m already reminiscing about UNA and my college experience. It’s been a great place, and, though I’m ready to go, I’m not ready to forget it.

In the last four years, I met and fell in love with my beautiful fiancée, made some lifelong friends (don’t get cocky; you know who you are), learned more than I learned in my 18 pre-college years combined, studied abroad, worked some amazing, life-changing jobs and had an all-around fantastic time.

After I atone for crying in public by letting out a guttural roar and beating my chest with sheer masculine ferocity, I’ll go back to my apartment that night, and I probably won’t feel much different (except the lack of crushing stress and anxiety that come with college). And I won’t feel different the next morning, or the next, or the next.

I imagine a lot of what I’ve experienced here will slowly fade — like any phase of life — but I’ll take the best parts with me.

I’ll take the most vivid memories: falling in love standing in the covered area beside Leo and Una’s den, feeling the light come on in my brain when a professor first explains a new concept or piece of literature, late nights and early mornings roaming the campus with friends when I should’ve been studying or sleeping.

I couldn’t decide whether to address this column to my fellow graduates or those of you who still have some time here. I’d say something about embracing the unknown to my fellow graduates, and, to those staying here a while, I’d give some advice you’ve heard a million times before.

Instead, I decided to address this to this town, this university. Thanks for everything. It’s been a truly wonderful time, and, though I’m leaving soon, I promise I’ll be passing back through.