I’m not really sure why I chose to apply or attend UR. My reasons at the time were lame and flimsy, and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I asked the Admissions Office a few questions, but they weren’t very truthful; then again, I probably asked the wrong questions. Freshman year was hard, as my ideals and imagined experience of college met with harsh reality. Needless to say, I was ready to transfer at the end of my freshman year to UC Davis to be near people who were aware of more than just themselves. However, I stayed.
Choosing colleges seems so objective and, at 18, do we really know what we want? I’ve met a few kids here who just knew that they wanted to be doctors, but I also met a few kids who dropped out of the pre-med track and were never happier. Growing up, we were always told that college would be the place where we discover ourselves and decide what we want to do with the rest of our lives. We get that B.S. in biology, apply to med school and set off on our paths to be doctors for the rest of our lives after discovering our love of money and prestige… or science and helping people.
However, more often than not, I have met people in my graduating class who still have no idea what they’re trying to do with their lives. Even with that chemistry, political science (the best department at the University), mathematics or English degree and four years to prepare ourselves, the idea of entering the real world is still strange and scary. Now we have to bring home the bacon and cook it ourselves. At least it won’t be made by ARAMARK, so it will be mildly edible. But how much did college really set us up for entering the real world and how much was it just a mechanism to stave off reality for just four more years? Doesn’t grad school basically serve the same purpose to some extent? And, more importantly, do we ever really figure out what we’re supposed to do with our lives?
In the play “Avenue Q,” the main character Princeton comes freshly out of college with his “useless” B.A. in English and tries to find his purpose in life. In the end, Princeton still does not know what he wants to do with himself and the final conclusion of the play is who knows if we will ever really find our purpose, and we should just live in the moment, as nothing lasts forever. This sentiment rings especially true as we, the members of the class of 2008, prepare to pick up our long sought after diplomas and leave UR. I guess the only thing we can do is pursue what makes us happy, so long as it’s morally conscious.
Hopefully each of us has picked up a desire, however small, to go forth and do something meaningful with our lives. Although sometimes picking the kinder option seems more difficult at times, we should remember our school motto of Meliora: always better. We can be better than who we were in high school and better than who we are in college. We can strive to take our $160,000 plus education and make whatever environment we live in a better place.
Despite all my grumbling about the Rochester weather and how much I missed the relaxed west coast attitude, I actually enjoyed myself here. It was an adjustment but moving anywhere and leaving all your friends tends to be like that. And now that I’ve really settled into my place here in Rochester, it’s time to pack up again for the final time, move somewhere else and make new friends. But, with the assistance of Facebook, hopefully I won’t lose touch my old friends. However, if I’ve learned anything here at UR it’s that voting is irrational, Samuel Huntington’s theory on why coups occur is better than Edward Luttwak’s and my experience here has made me a more independent and secure person who is totally excited to start all over again.
Woo is a member of the class of 2008.