Graduation is the culminating achievement of our college years - the time when we finally get the
chance to pursue a job in our field of study and start the rest of our lives.
For me, it's a rite of passage that took three years to achieve.
During my senior year of high school, I was fortunate enough to enroll in a program through a local
community college that allowed me to complete 27 college credits before ever setting foot on this
I used to tout the benefits of this approach because fewer loans and less time in school always sounded
like a good plan for post-graduate success. But now, with graduation looming, I'm having serious
doubts about my chosen career path and I can't help but feel that I rushed through my time here.
When I came to Buffalo State in the fall of 2010, I soon realized that I would have less time in college
than most. So, to get on track, I made myself as busy as possible.
I got heavily involved with the men's rugby team, as well as your very own student-run newspaper, The
Record. With dedication, I eventually worked my way into executive board positions for each club. I
also managed to fit in two internships, voice acting and a radio show, while at times taking up to four
major-required courses per semester.
These experiences have allowed me to meet people, travel the country and enrich my life in other
ways that I never could have imagined possible. Obviously, however, this didn't leave me with a lot of
breathing room. I was constantly doing something, and it was rarely something unplanned.
What I gained in personal achievement, I lost in time to reflect - time to reflect on knowledge gained,
and time to reflect on loved ones lost. Time to reflect on the possibility that my skills might be put to
better use helping the environment or improving communities, rather than writing about those who do.
Or perhaps just time to go to the library and reflect on a good book.
In my focus to excel academically, I never quite got the chance to explore all the diverse features that
make Buffalo so unique. I've still never seen the Botanical Gardens or the Buffalo Zoo, and I never got
to be a part of one its world-famous parades.
I also missed out on the chance to volunteer for a cause I believe in, of which there are ample
opportunities on the nearby West Side.
College is just as much about finding your balance as it is testing your limits. We learn to live with
rigorous expectations, but it's not healthy to be stressed out all the time. Don't be afraid to take a
moment to yourself.
It's not about the time you spend, but how you spend it. Do too little, and you risk missing out on the
transformative experiences that could shape your future. Do too much, and you lose touch with who
you are right now.
I struggle to find a better way to summarize than Matthew Broderick's iconic last line from the
quintessential '80s slacker film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Man, I'm really going to miss it here.
Brian Alexander can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.