Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Graduating senior’s wisdom-filled words

Dear Clare,

You have mentioned in your articles that you are graduating this year. Are there any last words of wisdom you would like to share us?



Procrastinating Polly

Dear Polly,

What a perfect question for my last column. I have been thinking for the past few days about how I would tackle such an open-ended inquiry in a way that was both entertaining and an appropriate summation of my lessons learned at this great university. I regret that such a subject does not elicit my usual upbeat and frivolous banter, but rather forces me to fully examine my college experience. My friends know that I am only selectively emotional and sentimental and have been trying desperately to ignore the fact that in less than two weeks I will no longer be a student here. No more admittance to the SERF or the cages at Memorial Library. On second thought, maybe those aren't two places I'll really miss. Let me try again: No more late night chats at College Library or Sunday brunch at Mickey's Diner. No more lines at the KK or afternoons at the Terrace. No more student seats at sporting events or dancing on the stage at the Union. No more student discounts at the movie theaters. Well, maybe I can still take advantage of that one.

To quote the late, great Frank Sinatra: "Regrets, I've had a few. But then again too few to mention." While this line accurately depicts my thoughts as I graduate, unlike Frank, I am going to mention my regrets. After all, Frank didn't have an advice column in which he could help young students make the best out of their college years.

The following are my regrets enumerated. I reveal them not as an exercise in self-deprecation or remorse, but as a way to perhaps help a couple of you:

I wish I had known more professors.

Professors are people too! We so often forget that fact and see them only as the people who teach us amazing new things and expect us to do insane amounts of work. As a nerdy freshman who sat up straight in the front row of every lecture hall with her pen anxiously pressed to her fresh notebook page, I told myself that I would visit the office hours of all my professors to become acquainted with them. That definitely didn't happen. With the smaller classes I took in my junior year, however, I got to know some of my fabulous journalism professors. I honestly cannot begin to describe how much my relationships with these individuals enhanced my academic experience. Knowing such knowledgeable adults with good stories and advice on life added another dimension to my learning. Most importantly, they were wise adults who were not my parents. If you are one of 1,000 people in your major, doing an independent study with a professor is a wonderful way to become better acquainted.

I should have developed random acquaintanceships.

Amazingly, "acquaintanceships" is actually a word! I was prepared to use it either way, but was excited to see it in the dictionary. There are many people I have met in random classes, coffee shop lines or through mutual friends who I thoroughly enjoy but rarely see. Though I wouldn't trade the friends I have now for anything or anyone, I regret that over the years I did not schedule more random lunches or coffee dates with these lovely people I only see on select occasions.

It would have been nice to slow down and find a balance.

We all know those people who are always spazzing about grades and have no time to do anything but study, study, study! I am one of these annoying freaks and admit that I often mix-up my priorities. Nevertheless, I detest and completely disagree with the collegiate adage, "you wont remember the grade, you'll remember the fun times you had." The idea behind this quote is that the times with friends are more memorable than the grade you received after studying and missing a great night on the town. Personally, I am more likely to remember a bad grade than one of a million fun times in Madison. However, it is important to find a balance between school, work and social time. I have been running around campus for four years and am always in a hurry. As a result, I'm tired. Please slow down, kids. You being three minutes late to a lecture is forgivable. Enjoy the walk.

I wish I had made better use of campus resources.

There is Dance-Dance Revolution (DDR for all you hardcore Arcadians) in the Union only blocks away from my house, yet I've only done it twice. How stupid not to play it everyday! There are so many fun activities on campus, yet many of us don't participate. As we get caught in the rut of beer-pong, flip-night at Brats and making sure we catch Conan (the man I love), there are CHEAP and FUN events we are missing! I was lazy and didn't look into more of these events. How I will miss DDR next year and all the laughs we could have shared.

I should have taken more random classes.

One of my favorite classes was an elective I took because it was the only one that fit into my schedule. Though I didn't have a great deal of interest in History 244, it became my main catalyst for wanting to go abroad and travel to Southeast Asia. As a freshman, most people don't know what they are interested in, so try to take random classes that will count toward your breadth requirements and may help you pick a major. I am kicking myself today for not picking up philosophy or history as an additional major because I discovered how fascinating I found both subjects too late in the game. If you try to do this, be SURE that you know what classes you will need to graduate on time. Don't blame me for an unplanned fifth year after you spent four year taking nothing but random introductory-level classes.

I wanted to date more.

College dating can be plotted on a giant "jump to conclusions map." Boy meets girl, girl calls/text messages boy incessantly, boy freaks out and thinks girls want to marry him though girl is simultaneously calling/texting many other boys incessantly. The same would be true if you switched around the boy and girl roles in that situation. We can change this, friends. Call out the crazies who are engaging in such behavior and set him or her straight. Attempt to go out on a single date; if you don't have a good time, leave it at that. If you wish to continue the courtship, call and ask out again. None of this other drama is necessary. None of it.

I wish I had stopped talking.

People are interesting — even the boring ones! I talked too much and wish I had shut up more. You learn a lot more that way.

I feel lucky to have only these few regrets. As I graduate, I recognize that it is the wonderful people I have met that have made my time at UW-Madison so memorable.

And now to leave you with one final piece of advice:

At my high school graduation, I grabbed some poor hapless freshman by the shoulders and yelled in his face the following: ENJOY EVERY MOMENT YOU HAVE HERE!

I would like to reiterate those words now to you, my dear friends.

Thank you for taking the time to read my little column and allow me this venue to rant and rave about observations I have made over the years. I will miss our Wednesday chats.

Good luck in your future endeavors, my friends.

U rah-rah Wisconsin,


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