Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘I did it my way’

“And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain”

I always thought that’ll never happen. But four years later, it is, and I’m leaving what has become home. I feel like I’m watching a ticking time bomb until I walk across a stage. Everything about college feels cliché. This year has been one of lasts, but I know that there will always be more firsts.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve been in a movie for the past four years. I’ve covered pretty much every genre, too. I’m lucky to feel that they could each win an Academy Award. I owe it to each person I’ve met, each organization I have become involved with, and each step I’ve taken in Amherst.

Looking back, I made a lot of impulse decisions. I couldn’t even really call them decisions because I kind of just did things without really questioning them. How could I go to the University of Massachusetts and not join the marching band? Not take the opportunity to go on Birthright, then return to Israel three more times? Not pursue my journalism major and write for the Collegian? Joining Phi Sigma Pi threw me a curveball; the amount of times I’ve had to explain that, yes, I am a girl in a fraternity – it’s gender-inclusive.

I think the one good thing about being a graduating senior is that I don’t have to stress about choosing classes for next semester. The anxiety of watching the number of spots left in a class on Spire dwindle and deciding what times I actually wanted to be in class was too much to handle. The worst is during add/drop when you realize you don’t even want to take a certain class and all that hard work playing with the puzzle that is your schedule was meaningless.

I almost did that this fall when I took dance 100. I thought it would be fun when I signed up. I don’t dance, let alone do modern dance. With the encouragement of two friends and an amazing teaching assistant who bonded our class together with her loveable quirkiness, I made one of the best “classroom” memories in a dance studio in the basement of Totman Gym. We did silly moves and rolled around on the floor because improvisation is part of modern dance. You’re welcome, Totman floor, for cleaning you with my body. But thank you for giving me a space to test how much I could get out of my comfort zone.

Between that dance class, experiences outside the classroom and growing up throughout my four years at UMass, I’ve gained confidence that will lead me when I’m no longer protected by the bubble of 01003. There have been a few classes I’ve really enjoyed, but the majority of my favorite times have not had to do with courses whatsoever. That’s supposed to be the point of college, to go to class and learn, right?

I’ve learned the most from people I’ve surrounded myself with and opportunities I took advantage of. Like how to be innovative in the dining hall – make pad thai by mixing stir fry and peanut butter or go back and forth between stations to create waffle sundaes and blender-less milkshakes. I learned how to regret life decisions and say you will never do it again, but of course you do, by procrastinating using Buzzfeed, Facebook and all forms of social media. But in all seriousness, planning events, embracing leadership roles and supporting endeavors  I care about, happen the most outside the classroom.

“My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

“I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway”

What’s any place without the people and experiences? It’s just a physical place without any significant meaning. UMass is full of buildings and grassy areas, but it’s nothing without its students. Myself, my friends, my classmates and people I’ve never even met. Leaving here is surreal. I’m looking forward to visiting as an alumna, but I know the only things that will be the same are the students I know, the location and maybe some of the buildings.

“And more, much more than this, I did it my way.”

I’ll further conclude with a Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy quote because he is the Marching Band’s No. 1 fan, and I love to see him always cheering us on, “… and go UMass.”

Karen Podorefsky was a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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