I’m sure everyone remembers their first encounter with a nostalgic senior. You know, the one that preaches the brevity of college always wishing to go back to freshmen year and relive some great moment or start anew. Now as a senior on the verge of graduation, I see no reason to beat a dead horse and rant about cherishing your time at Emory. However, I will share some realizations that I think many of you can appreciate.
Be apart of something bigger than you. What I mean by this is be apart of a group. This could be joining an organization, going Greek, being active in an athletic program, performing on a dance team, etc. It’s important to realize that these networks will become the foundation for your college experience and most likely, the people you meet will be the ones who you end up calling your best friends. We all are constantly looking for ways to be connected and ways to matter and fortunately being in a group dynamic does just that. Just keep an open mind don’t limit yourself, and remember that it’s never too late to join.
Take chances, accept failure, and grow from the experience. Learning to accept failure is probably the most difficult and valuable experience college can offer. Being rejected from a position, not receiving something you applied for, not being selected for a spot in a group, or even doing poorly in a course are all situations that relate to problems we will face in the real world and most likely with more serious consequences. Often times, failure is what makes people realize what they truly want. Was it you that really wanted to be pre-med or was it familial pressure? On the other hand, don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from doing something you want, even if it is a long shot. More importantly, don’t let failure be the reason to keep you down. Failure, like anything else, is an obstacle that will test you to see how bad you want something. Just remember, hard work and talent cannot be restrained forever so stay hungry.
Nothing fun happens before midnight. So maybe this is a slight generalization but I know most of you seniors know what I mean. You know, one of those late night conversations that lasted forever at Zayas or that time you decided to get into a cab with people you didn’t know well. It could be one of those epic nights of adventure or a night of hanging out with just a few close friends. Regardless, something about the sleep deprivation mixed with the social activity gives rise to a night that you will never forget. Unfortunately, the catch is that this type of occurrence is most likely impromptu and cannot be planned for. So next time your thinking about going to bed early, you could be missing out on one of the best nights of your college experience. Sleep in college is overrated. YOLO.
Experience over academics. This is not to say academics do not matter because they do. But, experience is much more valuable. In the four years of college, you have a chance to grow and experience things you will never otherwise have an opportunity to. Try new things, go outside of your comfort zone, and expand your horizons because nothing can replace or emulate your undergraduate years. In the end, grades will fade leaving you with nothing but the memories you have and the friends and people you met along the way. If nothing else, keep a balance.
As my senior year at Emory comes to an end, I’m grateful for all the people who have made these past four years unforgettable. I think I speak for every senior when I say that this journey wasn’t easy but the highs, lows, and everything in between was all worth it. As I embark on a new chapter of my life, I urge my fellow seniors to keep looking forward and take this next step as an opportunity to making this new adventure as meaningful and exciting as our time here at Emory.
Shehzad Bharwani is from Grapevine, Texas. He graduated from the College in May 2012.