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Embracing change

May 3rd, 2012

Wow, is it really the last day of classes already? It feels like just yesterday that my roommate and I were moving in, setting everything up in our dorm room and getting ready for another year here at JCU.

But as I sit here at my desk in the newsroom and type this column, that first day also seems like an eternity ago. A lot has happened since the beginning of the school year, and some of it was stuff I never imagined or expected.

The late author Leo Buscaglia once said, “Change is the end result of all true learning.” Buscaglia sounds like a pretty smart guy.

I can confidently say I am not the same person I was in September. Actually, I think a lot of us can say that. In this very column space, I’ve written, “College is supposed to be an enlightening experience. We should try new things, go to different places, formulate deep questions and make new connections. A lot of us have done that, while some are just scratching the surface of college life.”

Next year, I’m going to take a class that’s not in my major or minor because I want to broaden my horizons and try my hand at something different. This past November, I traveled with one of my classes to Washington, D.C., a place I had never been before. And, if you’ve been reading this column lately, you know I recently went on Manresa 21, where I spent a lot of time thinking and forming new relationships.

I’m looking forward to senior year because of the great potential it holds. There’s so much more to learn, so many more questions to ask, plenty of places left to go and people to see. As this year was, next year will also be one with a lot of change. While we will all be in familiar surroundings – seeing the same people and going to class in the same buildings with professors we’re relatively comfortable with – the evolution will inevitably happen.

Businessman Nido Qubein is quoted saying, “Change brings opportunity.”

The class of 2012 is going to experience major change in a little over a week. For some of them, no longer will their days be devoted to classes and homework, but to actual employment. Some will continue with schooling, but at the graduate level. Others will devote their time to a year or two of service.

They are all going out into the “real” world – full of challenges and opportunities to make a difference. Here is where they can live out that Jesuit mission we’ve all heard in our time here at JCU: St. Ignatius Loyola’s quote, “Go forth and set the world on fire,” rings true.

So, to those of you graduating this spring, I wish you all nothing but the very best. Many of you I’ve come to know through long deadline nights in the newsroom, Student Union meetings, weekends socializing and classes. Use all of your experiences and knowledge to leave the world better than you found it.

For the rest of us left here, you’re in luck – you get to read more “Cooney Meets World” next year! But besides that, we all have opportunities and challenges left to explore, and more change to experience. Our core – where we come from, remembering who helped get us to this point and our values – should not change. But, in many other ways, we shouldn’t leave JCU as the same person from when we started.

Here’s hoping we all have a safe and happy summer, and we come back “changed” – ready to tackle another school year.