How am I supposed to summarize the last four years of my collegiate career in just one column? Truth is, I can’t. And that’s part of what makes writing this final column so difficult.
As I sit down to write this column – the last column I’ll write for who knows how long – I’m hit with a flood of emotions.
Part of me feels relieved to be done with school work forever – no more lectures, no more study guides, no more pretending to pay attention in class. Another part of me feels deflated because the end of college is near, and that means the end of the best four years of my life. But another part of me is excited for what lies ahead, even if I have no idea what exactly the future may hold.
I find myself wanting to hit ‘pause’ on my college career, because the last four years flew by faster than I ever could have imagined. And the reason for that is simple: time flies when you’re having fun, and college has been too much fun.
But like it or not, all good things must come to an end, and that’s exactly what is about to happen with my college career.
Back in September, I wrote my first Mentz’s Minute column of my senior year, titled “The final chapter.” In that column, I talked about how senior year was the beginning of the end of my college career. Not only is my college career coming to an end, but so are some of the things that mean the most to me in this world.
My 13-year-old dog, Coal, has been by my side since the fourth grade, but his back legs are starting to give out on him, and his hearing isn’t what it once was. My first car – a green 1997 Ford Taurus, nicknamed Lady Taurus – is approaching 150,000 miles and has also seen better days. My two favorite professional athletes – Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant – are two guys I’ve idolized my entire life, and both of them are rapidly approaching the end of their playing careers as well.
Maybe it’s fitting that everything is coming to a close at once. But it’s frightening to know that soon enough, I’ll have to say goodbye to Coal, the best dog I’ve ever had; Lady Taurus, my partner in crime since I first got my license; Jeter and Kobe, the two athletes I grew up my entire life watching and admiring; and lastly, I’ll have to say goodbye to college.
Life after college will undoubtedly be a transitional phase unlike any I’ve ever dealt with before. While I don’t know what the future holds, I do know that I’ll always have the support of great family and great friends, and when it comes right down to it, that’s all you really need.
To Brett, Strowe, Hayden, Phelps, Q, Twitch, Nigel, Dobbs, Lou, Seany G, Ponch and Sam: You guys are the best friends I’ve ever had and likely ever will have. I came here only knowing Brett, and I leave with a friend group I can always count on. For that, I can’t thank you guys enough.
To Chris Wenzler and Bob Noll: You both are two of the best adult role models and influences I’ve ever had. Without each of you, my college career wouldn’t have meant nearly as much as it did.
To Mom and Dad: I made it! Thanks for always being there for me, and I can’t wait to rake in the big bucks so I can finally send you guys on the vacation you both deserve.
Now, before I go, just one last question: do I really have to graduate, or can I just stay here for the rest of my life?