The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Editorial: Eagles take flight from the nest

College is an experience, so experience it, and don’t forget to drink water

Graduation is a pivotal moment and a widely recognized transition into the “real world,” not to be confused with its MTV counterpart.  

Whether you graduate on time, early or late, this is a time of bittersweet celebration; the hard work is only just beginning.  

As various graduating Eagles prepare for their flight into the Alumni Association, they still glide over all their accomplishments and memories on this small, but mighty campus.  

“My favorite part [of AU] would be the people you meet and experiences you get to take part [in],” senior Gwen Shafer said. “You meet some of the most talented people and get some great first-hand experience that opens so many doors.” 

Shafer spent most of her time in the Office of Residence Life, ping-ponging between the student center and the Center for the Arts. Previously serving as a resident assistant and student office worker in ResLife and as design editor for The Collegian, she could most often be found on campus with a camera in her hand.  

For Shafer, managing one’s time is the best way to succeed in university life, regardless of degree path.  

“Try not to overload yourself too much,” she added. “JDM is definitely a major [where] you can do that easily.”  

“My favorite experience has been making good friendships and working in all the media here,” said Gage Eldridge, a fellow graduating senior in JDM.  

During his time at Ashland, Eldridge devoted his time to JDM, hosting a DJ shift on AU’s college radio station, 88.9 WRDL FM, and serving as a production manager for AUTV (formerly known as AUTV-20).  

Another JDM senior to take flight this December, even without a winter commencement, is Brayden Creveling, who spent this past semester as a sideline reporter during Ashland’s football season.  

“The friendships and conversations I’ve had with classmates for the past few years is something I will miss,” Creveling said. “You start to develop relationships that grow over time. Without the support of my classmates and professors, I don’t know where I’d be today.” 

“Don’t be afraid to try new things because you never know what your passion is until you try. The biggest step you can take to achieve your goals is that first [one],” he added.  

And that leaves me. Wow. Ironically, I have the fewest words for myself and, frankly, to not make this unnecessarily sappy, I’m not sure what is pertinent anymore.  

I spent most of my time in JDM on the first floor of CFA. Four years and an unexpected extra semester later, it’s still wild how far I’ve come. Though I consider myself a particularly humble person (if it is even humble to call yourself “humble”), I am proud of all the things I have accomplished and the friendships I will cherish forever.   

My trademark phrase, “I’m just here, being a silly little guy,” comes alongside the many hats I wore (and still wear, as of writing this) in JDM.  

What started out as an expectation in merely “getting through” my college career with my head down became long nights working on print issues of The Collegian in the newsroom, listening to the AU band practice its music across the hall (which always sounded amazing) and many, many days of producing a variety of programs with colleagues in the studio.  

 It is an odd feeling reflecting on the past four (or five) years. You want it to mean more or feel ridiculous in adding value to it, but that’s just the thing: the value is that it happened, and you did it.   

You spent nights studying for an exam the next morning, only to realize you studied the wrong section. You devoted hours refining an essay (or article), ruminating on the perfect words to use, even if only a few people would ever read it. You met some of the greatest—or albeit worst—people in your life. And though it may sound tacky, you impacted a lot of things, no matter how small.   

That is the celebration.  

Even without a formal commencement ceremony, your next chapter in life still commences and it will be a great one, greater than the last.  

For those of you still working toward your degree, keep it up. Cherish these years and enjoy this time. These are supposed to be the best years of your life and they will be, as long as you take time to appreciate them.  

“Get involved” is always THE go-to advice to give to undergraduates. But I’ll do you one better: do all the things you love to do.  

Audition for an upcoming play with AU theatre because you enjoy acting or take that elective course in philosophy simply because you’re interested in it or try out for an athletic program because you want to stay active.  

Find a routine, find what works best for you, find a home away from home.  

There are things I would change, but that just means I have grown as a person. Stress is natural—and it’ll only get worse from here—but we have to take the good things with the bad, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is the best time to explore and become the best version of yourself that you can be. 

College is an experience, so experience it, and don’t forget to drink water.  

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