Think back to your senior year in high school. Do you remember that feeling of euphoria and spirit? Do you remember feeling an intense connection to you school and your classmates? I do. My senior year of high school was the best year of my life! It amazed me how everyone in the class came together, and we had a great time. Although I loved every minute of that year, I was sure that college would be even better. I dreamed of going to a University that I would be loyal to forever. I wanted the kind of connection that makes parents hope their kids will go to the old alma mater. University of Rochester seemed to be that place, or so I thought.
As a graduating senior, I feel a great sadness for this University. Yes, I feel that my college education has been outstanding, but that is not all there is to college. I know that students here do have a good time, but there is no unifying UR experience. It is the quirky traditions that create an instant bond between alumni of the same school. Everybody at Northeastern University recalls rubbing the husky’s nose hoping for good luck on exams. Students from St. Boneventure share stories of the haunted 5th floor in one of the dorms, or following the basketball team’s run in the playoffs. At University of Michigan students run through the campus streets wearing only backpacks! before graduation. At Harvard alums remember having to climb through the window of the library to move between the old and new sections. I’m not saying that UR students should start streaking or ghost hunting, but these traditions and the stories behind them, create a sense of belonging to something greater than yourself.
The University is 150 years old. With all of the events and turmoil that UR has seen, there must be stories of craziness and acomplishment. Those stories and traditions bring people together. At UR there is little interest in following and supporting our sports teams, or participating in events that will foster school spirit. It saddens me to see students that are so intent on getting perfect grades that they forget to live a little along the way. So, my advice to both the students and the administration, get involved in making connections: student to student, administrator to student, student to University, and past to present. Those of you who will be back next year, take the time to look around this beautiful campus and remember the students that came before you(way before you!) and those that will come after you (long after you!), and take a moment to feel that you are a part of a great institution. Then, go back to your dorm room or your apartment or where ever and think of a way to make it better.