Soon the "best years of my life" will be over, but as Commencement nears, I realize I'm ecstatic to be over with Carolina for good.
For once in many years a return to sanity will be granted. No papers, no deadlines, no teachers (no offense), no enforced education, nothing finite, nothing planned, nothing to look forward to in fear or excitement.
I'm perfectly content with that. For a good month or two, I plan to just chill, save money for a big move out of the state and in my spare time really just relax with the few true friends I've made during my career here and read all those books I vowed to read when I wasn't busy reading required ones.
And though I'm notorious for exploiting this space to attack everything of which I don't approve, I feel a reflection of my Carolina years is somewhat reader-worthy, perhaps because students can relate to how I've despised and liked my 3.5 years here.
They weren't joking when they told you to seriously consider where you wanted to pursue higher education. For me it all boiled down to money, and the choice between owing the government $11,000 as opposed to $125,000-plus wasn't a tough one.
So here I was at the tender age of 18 moving into Cobb, stuck in a relationship with someone from home, starting school and not knowing what to expect. Within two months, my relationship went down the drain, I felt distanced from my friends on South Campus and was seriously annoyed by the sorority-like living environment I hadn't remotely wished for.
By sophomore year, I was disillusioned with fulfilling my parents' wish of me going to med school, because believe it or not, this Asian girl doesn't want to be a doctor. After nearly flunking all my classes, this rural town started to intensely suffocate me, and I got the hell out of here to London, where I studied abroad.
There I was forced to share close quarters with strangers, some of whom I witnessed undergo transformations that thwarted their 20 years of ignorance and sugar-coated reality. I wondered how so many people could be so lost, but then I realized that they were all pretty much the same person: white, upper-middle class suburbanites whose parents' backs they'd piggy-backed all their lives; a few were sensible enough to acknowledge rather than depend on this fact. They were distinguished from the others by their lack of whining and time they spent phoning home. How unfortunate that people like those who have found their identities since coming to college make up the minority at this school.
Junior year was a stable blur. I was busily content with school, work and a significant number of friends but managed to find time to party. Does stability result in a blurred, numbed affect on memory? Or is it something else .?
So my semester of being a senior is nearly up, and my simple reason for graduating early is simply, "because I could." Though I've been dealt a fair share of crap from this University, people and situations in general, I've managed to get past the frustration and learn from it all.
I've had incredible times, but looking around campus and being reminded of high school assures how happy I am to be moving on to whatever fate has planned. Good luck and buh-bye.
Shindy Chen is ecstatic that she will be a Tar Heel for life, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.