Have a real college experience

It’s my last year here. In a way, this is the first of the last columns I will ever write. I am in no way disillusioned that I will be — nor am I thick-skinned enough to be — a professional columnist.

I’m probably tied to the U in more ways than the average student. The U was my pre-school. I spent a huge chunk of my adolescence enjoying season football tickets, and I even enjoyed a three-year stint in the early ’90s being babysat by a variety of Chronicle staffers in the office where I now work, when my dad was the photo editor.

As I look back on everything, though I know it isn’t exactly for everyone, getting involved in something has kept me sane.

I remember the first semester of my freshman year. I had high expectations of meeting people, having lots of fun and managing a social life by merely going to class. Two weeks into a history class where I was one individual in an auditorium bursting with students, I gave up. It was lonely. The next semester, I joined a sorority, which opened a multitude of social outlets, and from then on I loved the time I spent on campus.

Later I found myself involved in the student government, participating in Union Programming events and eventually breaking ties to all that for a position at the very paper you are reading.

Without all of this, I know I would have dropped out of school. I personally believe that boredom and loneliness contribute to the freshman dropout rate and, though I am fully aware of the benefits of an education, I would have been one of them if it weren’t for my sorority.

I know greek life isn’t for everyone — eventually it outgrew me — but that is the beauty of what the U has to offer. You don’t have to fit into the mold of being either a greek or a jock. If you enjoy politics, you can be involved in the student government. If you enjoy event programming, look up the UPC or the Presenters Office and if you like writing, come see me and I’ll let you take a stab at column writing.

Among the things I will remember about college are my initiation ceremony for Chi Omega, meeting Hurricane Katrina refugees at the airport for an article I was working on, performing in the sketch comedy show “Friday Night Live” and looking at the size of the record-breaking crowd from the stage of The Grand Kerfuffle, a concert that I was fortunate enough to help plan.

These were four of a number of things I was a part of, and if I had the space I could go on forever.

If you want a college experience, and not just a college career, I suggest you take time to find your niche. I know you’ll have an experience that will make coming to the U worthwhile.

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