12 years in USU trenches, I'm finally graduating
By Joey Hislop
September 20, 2006 | Usually, when it takes someone
12 years to graduate from college, they come away with
something more than a bachelor's degree. Usually. But
that's for normal people, not me. There's an old saying
that warns if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Again,
in my case things are a bit different. My failure to
plan has only resulted in me being in college longer
than normal -- much, much longer. You see, when I first
set foot on this campus as a member of the student body
it was in the fall of 1995. I was an 18-year-old freshman
going to college because my parents told me it was either
college or a job.
Back then e-mail and cell phones were still tools
of the jet set, President Clinton was still only winking
at Monica, the "Macarena" hadn't even been invented
yet and USU was still on the quarter system. Fast-forward
to today. I'm a 29-year-old senior trying to finish
one last year of college while working at the same time
(but I still haven't figured out how to e-mail from
my cell phone).
As I look back at the past 11-plus years, I can't
help but get a little nostalgic. A lot has happened.
In the course of my studies here I've seen the world
change, one crisis after another. From Bosnia to Afghanistan,
from Oklahoma City to 9/11, from El Nino to Katrina,
from O.J. to Warren Jeffs -- it's amazing to think about
how much has come and passed. We live in a different
world. Even our campus itself looks unrecognizable if
seen from the right angles. The Merrill is gone, replaced
by the library to end all libraries, we have a new engineering
building, concert hall, and soon we'll have so many
dorm rooms there won't be enough annoying little freshman
in all of Utah to fill them.
I've had a lot of good experiences here in the last
decade plus and I've made a lot of friends. I'll never
forget things like "Casino Night" and "Midnight Madness"
(before they were done away with) and the Howl (before
they outlawed ... everything). Of course, I'll never
forget going to the singles wards. Nor will I ever forget
meeting my wife, Jamie, and both of us being so glad
to exit the singles ward.
When I finally walk across that stage in May of next
year it will have been nearly 12 years to the day that
I graduated high school. I will most likely take a long
look at the places and faces in my mind and be glad.
Regrets? I have a few. I hate hearing people say that
they "wouldn't change a thing" when talking about experiences
in their lives. Would I change anything about my experiences
here? You're damn right I would. For starters, I would've
graduated a hell of a lot sooner, I would've met my
wife a long time ago and I never would've wasted my
time taking statistics 1010. I would've gone for math
1050 and been done with it.
But, alas, I can't change the past. I can only shape
the future. So, if you'll indulge me, I'd like to take
this time to raise my glass in an early toast to the
next 12 years -- may they be as educational as the past