After The Last Paper: Raw

After turning in my last final paper as an undergrad, I wrote this. Below is the full, unedited text:

I just turned in my final paper a few minutes ago for Scandinavian 445, and with that I’m done with my undergraduate degree. After shuffling up the stairs at Raitt hall I went outside to my favorite sitting place in the quad: an exposed root for one of the cherry trees I always found made a perfect bench. It’s shady and sightly hidden, yet I can still hear the silent students passing by and the songbirds amongst the rustling leaves. And of course the campus squirrels and crows make occasional appearances.

I can certainly tell it’s been four years, despite the fact that still fresh in my mind is waiting in the parking lot of E-1 while we were about to move me into McMahon room 464. I was about to live with someone I never met, go to a school where I knew less than five people, and live in a city where the population was measured in hundreds of thousands instead of simply hundreds. As we moved all of my possessions into that room, I knew I was about to embark on a journey which was completely different than any I had experienced before.

My initial intuition was correct.

I had to learn how to write papers, conduct research, critically read texts, and yes, even learn how to study.

While I was still in a relationship from high school that lasted for two additional years after starting college, and I had to learn how to balance school with a long-distance relationship.

King County Metro was at first a threat, but I quickly learned how to ride the bus, figure out the cryptic schedules, and read the odd maps that metro provided.

I was no longer the star in every class, but just another student trying to find their way in life. Still, I [almost] always did well in my courses.

After spending an interesting and often complicated four years with my best friend in high school, I’m blessed to have that friendship still be strong 4 years after graduation.

Selecting and getting into my major was an easy choice, and I don’t regret my decision. I’m well prepared to be a critical thinker, writer, and reader.

Husky football games were always a highlight: even when we were losing. One of my fondest memories is storming the field in Pullman after we won the Apple Cup in 2006, and the subsequent ride home with four happy husky fans and one dejected cougar. We almost died on that trip back, but that’s another story.

I always tried to take classes which were interesting to me: I graduated with 219 credits and got the opportunity to take additional Astronomy, Scandinavian, Economics, English, and other courses that were above and beyond my electives requirements.

Italian and Calculus were two courses that I didn’t need to take yet made myself, and I highly recommend both. Foreign languages have many benefits, and you’ll feel smarter after you’re done with just a year of work. Math too is not required, but I feel that everyone needs a good basis for calculus, no matter what field they go into.

Rome was one of the best months of my life, and after being prepared well with my Italian and comparative law courses, I spent all my time applying all of my classes up to that point.

After living in the dorms for two years, I moved into an apartment with my roommate from freshman year. This transition was not a great one, as we get along well and together had enough stuff to make our living comfortable.

After three summers as a public affairs intern, I went on to work in IT for a while. Both jobs taught me how to deal with people, to communicate clearly, and to prioritize my work. Both jobs were difficult for me in different ways, but I feel that I’ve learned a lot from both of them.

My vision isn’t as good as it used to be, and I have a few scars on my chest now. Despite this, I don’t feel at all disadvantaged. I drew from inner strength that I didn’t know I had and managed to make it through the quarter while dealing with constant medical tests and exams.

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