Class of 2015, where did the time go?

Currents Editor reflects on the short four years spent at the university, friendships and responsibilities

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We planned on Sunday dinners every week. We stayed up too late on week nights watching movies in the basement of Katharine Thomas Hall and skipped classes to play volleyball behind Putnam Hall, bathing in the sun’s rays on a surprisingly warm March afternoon.

It barely seemed real we had all made it to college, stumbled in to one another’s lives and called it friendship. But in less than two weeks I will walk across the stage with that same group of friends, all of us in different areas of our lives now, each of us accepting a diploma and moving on to the next phase, sharing memories of one another wherever we go.

Sure, some of us haven’t made it out yet, but in less than two weeks the dynamic of our friend group is going to change once again.

I am one of 1,364 UW-Eau Claire spring graduates. One of 25 journalism majors graduating in the 2014-15 school year (and the only one from my core friend group mentioned previously).

We all have different experiences at this university, but I think I can speak on behalf of every one of the more than 2,000 2014-15 graduates when I say the memories and friendships I made, both in and outside of the classroom (but let’s face it, mostly outside of it) have changed me into the better person I will be when I cross that stage.

Katherine Moua, senior public relations major, was one of the last people to join our friend group freshman year. I think she thought we were a little crazy at first. Still, she stuck along for the ride.

She said the group has changed over the years, added more people, lost some while others transferred, and though we may have drifted apart, the defining moments are the ones that matter.

“These moments are those growing up, life-learning experiences that we have to go through in life,” she said. “We all definitely lived in the moment, learned from those moments and have loved every single one with no regrets.”

Even though we no longer watch movies together every night and the Sunday dinners rarely happened — life got in the way — Moua said this makes her value the moments we did get to share.

“There were most definitely ups and downs through our times together, but I don’t regret anything because without those moments that happened, I wouldn’t be who I am today and I wouldn’t have learned so much about … the reality of life without those individuals.”

Anne Wickland, senior religious studies major, said growing up and also slightly apart from the group over the last four years has shown her how different everyone in the group really is.

Despite these differences, she said we connect on a deeper level and she appreciates the time we do spend together.

“It’s just really fun when all of us get together because I feel like that happens less frequently as we get older, us just hanging out,” she said. “There’s nothing spectacular about it except that we’re all together and that’s just really cool to me.”

Wickland, who lived in Katharine Thomas Hall all four years at Eau Claire, has learned a lot about being a member of a community. Outside of the friends she made freshman year, she has realized how much more there is to the campus.

“No matter where I look I see someone I recognize and I can say hi or start a chat and catch up with someone,” she said. “Just the familiarity is something that I’ll really miss.”

And there is so much more to the 2014-15 senior class. According to Kari Herbison, research analyst for McIntyre Library, students from 53 different majors will have graduated this school year.

Nursing, psychology and kinesiology respectively are the most popular majors for students in the 2014-15 class, while American Indian Studies and French are the least.

College is rarely what you expect it to be. I made these friends four years ago and expected we’d spend every day basking in the sun, avoiding all sense of responsibility.

We don’t talk every single day anymore. We all have jobs and are involved in organizations, with more responsibility than we could have dreamed freshman year. But when we do see each other, those are the moments that count.

Those are the moments we’ll be thinking about when we shake Chancellor James C. Schmidt’s hand May 23 and prepare to move on to the next chapter in our lives.