By Leslie Hamilton, Features Writer
When you graduate high school, everyone says “college is what you make of it” and as cliché as that is, it is pretty true, you have the choice to make the most of your college experience by making friends and working hard or blowing it all off. In college, you do not have your parents by your side making sure that you wake up and get to school on time, that you eat a balanced meal or get to bed at a reasonable time of night, you are floating around in this weird transitional phase between full-blown adulthood and being a child. You are given this new responsibility where you are held accountable for your education because there is no longer a federal law confining you to a desk for a set time 5 days a week; you suddenly have to learn how to push yourself to get out of bed, to turn off whatever TV series that you have been binge watching, so that you can study, do your homework or go to class. I get it man, staying motivated is hard, I do not have enough fingers to count how many days that time has passed way too fast where I had plans to get all of these things accomplished and I barely make a dent into that list. Everyone spends so much time asking you if you are excited about starting college instead of preparing you for the experience that you are about to embark on and the same could be said about graduating college and starting your transition into the professional workforce, except you are no longer floating in that weird in-between, you are a full blown adult.
As someone that still has about 2 years left at S&T, I can only reflect on my feelings I had as an incoming freshman in 2013 and what it is like to lose friends each year to the epidemic called graduation. We all come here with hope and dreams, looking to build the groundwork that we need to fulfill them, some changing and others remain the same as they were when you first made them as a kid – S&T being a mere stepping stone in the process. While this university may be stepping stone in the process, it sometimes feels like climbing Mount Everest – or at least that is how I feel sometimes. In combination with my own experience and talking with impending graduates after Dollar Well$, where I often find myself laying on the ground awkwardly comforting them while they cry about graduating, Rolla has a definite love-hate relationship with its student body. There is no doubt that the curriculum can be extremely rigorous and time consuming, wherein you no matter how much hard work and time you put into something, you can still fail and have nothing to show of your hard work. While this school can really beat down your spirits at times, the high that accompanies being rewarded with a grade that you slaved over your desk for hours on end is worth it. I doubt that I am alone in my mother always asking me “why I would do put myself through this, why I would do this to myself?” when I b**** and moan about school and the answer is always that it will be worth it in the end. It is kind of like the same reason we go to the Locker room, only to experience lackluster service, the wings are worth it. The degree from S&T is worth it, the friendships made are worth it, the experiences are worth it, it is all worth it. If the memories and friendships at S&T were not worth it, I would not have found myself laying on the ground, awkwardly comforting a graduating senior crying after one too many dollar well$ about their impending graduation on multiple occasions. If it was not worth it, I would not see students defending our school when other people try to trash talk on Rolla, that is a privilege reserved strictly for S&T students, faculty and alumni only. In summation, the Rolla experience is worth a lot and we are paying that in tears, hair loss, wrinkles, sleepless nights, dark circles and bags under our eyes, and a whole lot of money.
I would like to take the chance to congratulate the class of 2016 for getting that expensive piece of paper, you did it and you will be missed. The only guarantee about your post-graduate life that I can guarantee is that you will miss more than “DJ Tony Danza’s dee-jay skills”, which was mostly him just pressing a single button. For those that have not experienced Danza’s skills, consider yourself lucky.