Graduation brings goodbyes. Farewell to professors, dorm rooms, classes, and an invincible attitude. It also brings about a change in friendships. The classmates of four years, the roommates you lived with, and the friends you went out with are no longer right across the hallway from you. I have a different kind of story with something I consider to be one of my best friends. With it, I have not only made unforgettable memories but also hilarious life lessons that I am thrilled to share. These are the adventures of me and my beach kruizer.
I was given my beautiful orange beach kruizer on my 19 birthday, the summer before sophomore year of college. I know I said that this story is about the four years of college, but I had a mountain bike my freshman year and that just doesn’t add any interest to this story.
On my birthday, I knew that this bike would be the pride and joy of my next three years at MU. I would ride it everywhere: class, the beach, Dunkin Donuts, friends’ houses, the gym, you name it and that bike was with me. As I finish my last two weeks as a college student, my bike is still by my side. The two of us have learned many lessons of everyday life.
“Late” is not a word in my vocabulary. There have been numerous mornings where I find myself rushing to get to my 8:30 class. By 8:25, I am zooming by everyone on the road and through campus. By 8:27, my bike is locked. By 8:29, I am sitting in my seat with my notes out ready to go.
Four years ago, I was graduating from high school, bringing 13 years of education to a monumental close. I headed to MU the following fall to begin my education as an undergrad. I remember feeling like anything was possible. I would graduate from MU, get a great job, make good money, eventually go to graduate school, and that would be that. Don’t get me wrong, I still expect those things to happen, but who says they have to happen the day after graduation?
One weekend during this semester when I was overloaded with schoolwork and barely had a second to breathe, it occurred to me that after I graduate, I have been in school for 17 years. That’s practically my whole life. I nearly had a panic attack thinking about how my life is basically over.
After I graduate, I will start working until I’m way too old to enjoy life or my successes.
Then I thought, if only I had just a few months where I could do nothing. No work, no school, no anything. Just relax.
I’m a firm believer in taking time off after graduating college before starting a career. When I say “time off,” I don’t mean time off from job searching, I just mean time off from working a typical summer job, and of course, schoolwork. I also don’t mean a year. I think that’s much too long and employers view that negatively. I believe a few months of leisure, fun and relaxation while job hunting is a reasonable tradeoff.
My parents own a house in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, so I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be perfect if I could live there for the summer? I would continue looking for job opportunities, but I would be doing it on a gorgeous beach in Florida. It seemed like the perfect plan to me.
In October, our state suffered one of the worst storms that it had seen in a century. After Sandy had hit, it looked like it would be a while until we recovered. I remember seeing houses gone, debris everywhere, and people looking so lost, as they had no idea what to do next.
However, out of this natural disaster, I saw something that I had felt disappeared for a long time: our community spirit. After winter break, I couldn’t help but notice that my fellow students were more empathetic and aware toward one another.
Along with other communities banding resources together to rebuild, Monmouth stepped up to help. As soon as school was back in session, our student body came together to do what they could to aid the community that we all have become apart of. Greek life held multiple fundraisers, we held different types of food and clothing drives, and at every one I saw my fellow students, along with myself, giving what they could.
“I think that people are helping out each other more, and a lot of people are giving. People have been giving money to help those in need, which I think is great,” said Alex Lustig, sophomore. “I really feel that the community is stronger and that has carried through the semester.”
Even though it was a horrible tragedy, I feel that a positive change came out of this. Along with a strengthened bond among our student body, there was a change of heart among our students. I see people being a bit friendlier, including myself, and the petty ideas that used to bother us are now moot points.
We have seen what is truly important after dealing with situations out of our control where we had to rely and focus on each other in order to pull through.
There is a light at the end of the semester; it is called summer. Now is the time when students are itching to get out of class and get to the beach. Despite craving to make it out of the semester alive, we have to buckle down and finish the semester strong.
End-of-the-semesteritis has to be an actual term, at least in the college world. The end of the semester is the toughest part. Students have projects, term papers, presentations, homework, and let’s not forget the whole sleeping and eating thing.
Students have so much on their plate that it could satisfy someone’s hunger just by thinking about it. All of the projects, presentations, papers, and internship deadlines are looming over our heads, blocking our view of summer at the end of the semester.
But wait just a flip-flopping sun-screened second. There are ways to fight end-of-the-semesteritis. First things first, breathe. I’m not talking quick short breaths as you experience a nervous breakdown. I’m talking deep slow breaths. The quicker you breathe, the less carbon dioxide you give off, so in moments of hyperventilation, your body uses less oxygen, you’ll feel weak, and you won’t be as productive as you would be if you just breathe. So when you do find yourself getting stressed, remember to sit down and breathe. You’ll be able to clear your mind and it’ll help you buckle down and focus on the tasks you have to do.
My boss’s nephew is getting married in September. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the happy couple, and they are a perfect match for one another. You know the type; they finish each other’s’ sentences, have the same ideals, morals, and interests, and know what the other needs before they do. But they avoid telling people the “real” story of how they met, changing it each time, from saying they met at a coffee shop to while rock climbing (by the way, neither of them rock climbs).
The reality is that they met on Match.com. To her, “Going online was easier. You have to pay to be on there, so you know that everyone on there wants to be in a relationship. I didn’t have the time to waste on people who weren’t serious.” With over 17 percent of the marriages this year being of couples who met online, this idea is becoming less and less odd.
According to StatisticBrain.com, 40 million people have tried online dating, making the annual revenue of online dating sites over one billion dollars. However, with all of these statistics, there is a stigma around online dating. Although online dating can make beautiful relationships, we are gaining knowledge of the horrors of online dating.
We’ve all heard the stories. Meet a gorgeous model online and fall in love. She finally agrees to meet you at your local Starbucks only for you to find she looks more like Honey Boo Boo’s mom. How much time did you invest in this relationship? Messaging online, talking on the phone. This happens more than we would like to admit as we see in MTV’s television show, “Catfish.”
According to urbandictionary. com, the term “catfish” is, “someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”
With the prevalence of the Manti Te’o scandal, the Notre Dame football player who was fooled into falling for “Lennay Kekua” who “died of leukemia,” being catfished is a becoming a mainstream worry to those fostering online relationships. In Te’o’s case, Kekua never existed, and the entire relationship blew up in his face in all of the tabloids, news channels and social media. And while this isn’t necessarily what one always should expect while trying online dating, or even just making friends online, it is a real possibility.
Say you don’t have the time to date traditonally. Hello, we are the generation of the Internet and social media, so why should you have to? But before you go answering all 400 eHarmony questions, I have a few suggestions to help you from being catfished.