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PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS: Sunday brought perfect weather for hot-air ballooning over the Old Mendon Highway -- but when it's over, you still have to pack up. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Paranoia means having all the facts."

--William S. Burroughs, Beat Generation writer (1914-1997)

After 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 12.


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