I was completely nonchalant and apathetic a few weeks prior to graduation. I convinced myself that, “it’ll hit me on the day of graduation”, but it never did. I walked across the stage, shook a few hands, received my diploma, and officially graduated with honors, without a sense of accomplishment or excitement. It never crossed my mind that “this was it, I am officially a college graduate”. I honestly didn’t think it was a big deal. Many people were proud of their accomplishments, but I didn’t feel as if I accomplished anything significant. Half a year later, here I am, thinking otherwise.
Post-grad life has allowed me to think thoroughly about my life’s purpose. Most importantly, it has allowed me to reflect on the significant experiences I had throughout the four years. A few months before graduation, I knew I was going to miss college. Obviously, there were many sleepless nights and stressful days where I wanted to graduate and leave Riverside without looking back. But, I knew I would miss walking across the familiar campus, the daily routines that I had become accustomed to, and the people that I thought I would never see again.
There is so much information that I obtained throughout college, but thinking back on it, I honestly do not remember the list and structures of amino acids that I once knew at the top of my head, nor the causes of different genetic diseases that I previously retained. My college career mainly consisted of memorizing scientific terminology and understanding the biological structures of life. There were multiple instances where I wanted to give up because I was frustrated from being unable to solve a physics’ problem or I didn’t have enough time to memorize ten sets of lecture slides before an exam. My main priority was to get straight As while trying to be heavily involved in extracurricular activities. I was so caught up in striving for academic success, that I became less aware of my personal growth.
I don’t regret anything I did or didn’t do in college. Many could say that I didn’t have the “true college experience”, because I didn’t go to parties or join a sorority/fraternity, but are these experiences really what defines the “true college experience”? Personally, college is what each person makes out of it. I place an insignificant value on which school a person attended or which fraternity he or she was involved with, because what really matters is the type of person each individual comes out as.
The greatest thing I miss about school is learning. I enjoy learning about science because it interests me, although, I do admit that more than 50% of the information I learned in my science courses were memorized. To be honest, much of it has left my memory space. Even so, I miss being in a lecture hall filled with eager and interactive students. I love being taught by professors that are passionate about their research and career because it makes learning so much more interesting. Only a few classes have impacted my career and surprisingly, these classes were not required for my degree. I once took a public policy seminar class for the purpose of satisfying the minimum units I needed to have per quarter. I didn’t expect to gain anything from the seminars that I had to attend but little did I know, this class allowed me to think critically about the economic and social issues that are currently present in our country. I learned about various solutions to student debts, effects of the shortage of affordable housing, and the poor economic structure of the United States. I became more aware of my surroundings, as well as my purpose and actions as an individual.
Looking back now, I don’t believe that I came out of college unaccomplished. I accomplished more than just a bachelor’s degree in biology. I truly believe that I grew as an individual. I wouldn’t have experienced anything significant throughout the four years if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone. I know I say this all too often, but I am extremely grateful that I was and still am surrounded by positive and motivated individuals because I have gotten this far in life.