I could depart by giving you some great, sage words on what I have gained through my years at UM, but who are we kidding? Chances are I won’t resist parceling out some wisdom. But the truth is I don’t want to bid anyone any adieus. I’m happy to continue on in this bubble of complete avoidance of my impending finale.
So after four long and strenuous years, I’m supposed to kick it to the curb and say, “peace out” like nothing ever happened? Well, that’s pretty impossible, and if you know me, you know that’s a ludicrous expectation. I do anything but downplay moments of great melodrama. It’s the end of my college years! You only get this closing once. better make it good.
I was a kid when I arrived, stepped on the Green for the first time to take a nap in between classes, or walked through the breezeway to get attacked by advertisers vying for my attention. I was curious. I was empty of knowledge. I had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting into.
These four years have taken me through everything: crushes, loves, games, parties, plays, walks, marches, sit-ins, strikes, snoozing, PJs in class, walks by the lake, late nights, all-nighters in study rooms and paper after paper after paper after. laptops, cell phones, iPods, student orgs, listservs, the Rock, the Rat, Burger King turned into Wendy’s, World Fair turned into Mango & Manny’s, Storm Surge, Sbarro, the UC, The Miami Hurricane, the School of Communication, the Free Speech Zone, Starbucks, Club Richter, Ashe, the Communication School’s new building, the Dalai Lama, Maya Angelou, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Anderson Cooper, Democratic and Republican debates, studying abroad, Atlanta for UM Alternative Spring Breaks, awareness campaigns, great professors, not-so-great professors, great classes, not-so-great classes, blood drives, SG elections, the stacks, mountains of library books, research, research, research, oh yeah, and some more research. sprinklers, tents, workers, people, justice, fairness, fights, struggles, illness, heartache, loss, death, baking, mildew in the apartments, fire alarms, Charties, Wilma, Frances, Katrina, the first presidential debate, good friends, bad friends, lovers, love.
This, UM, is it. It’s our world. It is our moment. I can sit here and tell you how it changed my life, how it gave me so much, helping me learn and grow and figure out who I am and what I want to become. I can tell you about all the amazing people I met and that we created the most memorable moments. I can tell you that I am forever changed – it’s all true. But that’s not what matters now.
What matters now is that you make it your own. We are lucky. Call it blessed. Call it what you want. The point is that we are at the top – the few privileged individuals in the world who get this kind of safe haven and oasis of opportunity. Soak it all up. It’s irresponsible not to. Make the best and most of it. Do everything you can. Make it yours. It’s your life. You have nothing to do but to live it. Make the U proud.
Bernardita “Beni” Yunis is a senior majoring in communication studies, international studies, and religious studies. She hopes you’ll send her some lovin’ farewells and see ya laters at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to VOTE.