Contemplating Graduation: Farewell to the University of Utah


Justin Prather

(Photo by: Justin Prather | The Daily Utah Chronicle).

By Adelina Whitten


This piece was written by Adelina Whitten who graduated in Dec. of 2018. Here are a few of her thoughts prior to walking. The Arts Desk misses her and we wish her the best of luck as she enters the real world. — Madge Slack, Arts Editor

Thousands of students graduate from Utah colleges in the spring. I watched one of my best friends walk in the Weber State commencement just this year. Now it’s my turn to gracefully trip up the steps and proudly receive my diploma. The one I receive will only be a placeholder for the real thing, but it’s exciting all the same.

I walked onto the University of Utah campus for the first time seven semesters ago. I was a frightened freshman who knew little and wanted to learn it all. Here I am now, a senior who graduates in December. Arguably, I still know nothing and I’m even more scared than I was three years ago. My final semester is ending, though, and I made it to the light at the end of the tunnel.

The trek wasn’t a straight path, however. There were random twists and turns, bumps at nearly every step and propaganda constantly telling me to turn back. The path to graduation isn’t easy and if someone tells you it is, they’re likely lying. I’m basically a straight-A student, yet there were loads of instances when I didn’t perform up to standards. I didn’t study hard enough for all my tests, I only received enough sleep thirty percent of the time and I procrastinated nearly all of my large assignments. Sound familiar?

Yet, here I am. I made it to the day my parents have hoped for since my birth. My parents probably aren’t thrilled about my current residency at home. To be honest, neither am I. Graduation, though, is the starting point for the rest of my life.

The rest of my life is like a slippery slope. I thought I’d have everything figured out when graduation peaked around the corner and I couldn’t have been further from the truth. To begin with, I took general education classes during my first year and a half at the U. I love music, so unsurprisingly most classes I took had something to do with sound. History of Rock and Roll, Sociology of Rock and Roll, World Music and Intro to Music Theory were only four of my favorite classes. It wasn’t until I was halfway into my second year when I finally decided to major in Communication. I’m confident this was the right choice because I get to do what I love every single day.

My after-graduation plans are a little more complicated than choosing what classes to take though. A plan starts with a first step, and I can proudly say I only have one. My initial step is attaining a job in my chosen field. The only way to start a career is to apply, and I plan on putting myself out there. This likely won’t be a simple process, but I will stay persistent. I know the short time I’ve spent on the U’s campus prepared me for this.

I’m surprised I’m only in my fourth year at the U. These last four semesters at the U zoomed by. I never thought I’d arrive at the day where I wouldn’t be a student anymore. For the past 22 years I’ve been a pupil, and the thought of not being one anymore absolutely terrifies me. You never actually think you’ll make it over the hill while you’re in school. Once you’re there, there’s no turning back. Unless, of course, you continue with graduate studies or a different degree. You might’ve guessed already— I’m not. There are many things I wish I would’ve taken advantage of at the U, however. Biggest of them all is our raving football games. I long to cheer amidst frenzied fans at Rice-Eccles Stadium while our Utes score the final, winning touchdown.

This Ute is about to land the greatest victory. What’s left of my existence begins with me. My aspirations, my hopes, my dreams and the support of those I love around me. I wouldn’t have made it this far without my encouraging family and my painfully annoying, yet effective, older sister. These same people will walk beside me as I stride off campus and tread into the future.

The reality of graduation is unknown— one person’s experience will not be like another’s. As much as we want to have everything figured out, the chances of this are slim. In all honesty, I don’t need to have a plan. What I require as I move forward in life are by far the most important: happiness and success. I’ve already accomplished the first, now it’s time for the second.

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