Transitioning to something better
Four years ago, I came to UW-Eau Claire with doe eyes, weak calves and a high school senior’s untested sense of entitlement, like all of us. Then after getting academically knocked around a little and walking up the hill a couple hundred times, I started to learn what it’s like to be an adult and my calves started learning what it’s like to be the Incredible Hulk’s calves.
Back then, the face of this campus was incredibly different. It was like Daniel Craig’s face: Certainly not bad-looking, just a little old and maybe a little tired. There was no colossal Davies Center, our campus mall had grass and trees and no one was born in 1994 (which will always be baffling).
We’re certainly in the midst of a big transition. Everywhere a person looks, they’ll see a crane or some dirt or a sweaty 40-year-old, and that’s something we’re going to have to get used to because the construction isn’t ending anytime soon. And when it finally does, more construction is going to start.
And then once you graduate, there are still going to be sweaty 40-year-olds anyway. And then you become the sweaty 40-year-old. And then you die.
I guess my point is this: try to embrace the changes our campus is going through. Sure, it’s easy to complain that a fence in blocking your way to Sociology 101, but try not to be an idiot. Plan ahead, buy a watch and try to imagine what a breathtaking place this is going to be in a couple years.
What I’m trying to do is welcome you to another year here at Eau Claire and tell you to keep an open mind because your time here is exponentially precious, and you won’t realize it until it’s almost over.
Your time here is a lot like that construction. It’s messy, it’s disgusting, it’s complicated, it’s annoying, but you’re going to be beautiful once you’re done.
I have a friend who graduated last December and she was always super anxious to graduate. She did whatever she could to rush out of the college process and start grad school to start her real, adult life at any cost as fast as possible.
I was always kind of thrown off by this, because I figured college was an opportunity to transition ourselves in being prepared to start adult lives. I wanted to hold on to it. I didn’t want to move on so quickly; I wanted to (sometimes literally) drink it all in.
Some people can make the change quickly; for some, it takes more time. Sometimes all you have to do is make Hulk angry.
The point is: please don’t take UW-Eau Claire for granted. It’s here to educate you, to take your sunshine and focus it, to egg-on your creativity, to blur your future only so it can clear it up, to light a fire under your spirit.
So my advice is this: Don’t start this semester expecting to be buried in a textbook or in a 24-hour lab cubicle and think that that’s the way to succeed here. Start this semester expecting to make art out of your life. Go. Do. Go again. Do again.