Wow… Graduation. What the heck do I even say about myself, my future, my past, my present state, any of it?! It’s so hard to quantify these 4 years with words. The amalgamation of my experiences is not something so simple. I’ve had good ones, bad ones, in between ones and out of body ones. I’ve met friends, lost friends, re-met friends, forgot about friends, left friends hanging on plans before suddenly remembering them and driving through a flood to see them. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve crammed, I’ve passed, I’ve failed, I’ve withdrawn, I’ve added, dropped, and waitlisted and somehow despite all these experiences I just can’t find the words to describe the way I feel. There’s something surreal about being here, about being a senior on the verge of graduating. In the last three days I’ve had four crises about how I’m going to function without my student status, with one being entirely not being able to use that beautiful Rec Center.
Though it is impossible to put this feeling into words, let me give it a shot: pensive. Now, I know that’s not exactly a happy word, but it’s not really a sad one either. Pensive just sort of describes my feelings. I’m lost in thought (and a little bit lost trying to make post-grad plans too) about all the things I’ll miss. I’ll miss sunny days on Chancellor’s, walking through a sea of young, educated people to get to class. I’ll miss rainy days by Fisher, walking through the rain in my bright blue and yellow rain jacket after getting that sweet quesadilla from Jole Mole, back when queso used to be a free option. I’ll miss nights on the beach, walking with my friends from the access all the way to the right to the pier and back, talking about everything and nothing at the same time. I’ll miss being in the same room as my best friends and annihilating them at Smash every chance I get (except when I lose, in which case there was clearly something stupid happening in that game. It’s the game’s fault). I’ll miss having all the free time in the world, all the opportunities of college life, and all the different ways UNCW makes me feel at home.
The thing is, I’m also lost in thought about all the wonderful things I’ve gained from my experience here. Seven guys who I would do anything for, an amazing woman who has made my life more colorful than ever, a chance to Study Abroad in Kyoto, Tokyo, and Osaka and discover a passion for Japanese I didn’t even realize I had, and a chance to become familiar with with world through Communication.
君は春の中にいる. Kimi wa haru no naka ni iru. Well, for UNCW, it would be aru and… Well Japanese is a very specific language and for Arima Kousei’s sake I kept the quote intact. “You exist inside spring.” UNCW exists inside spring. The spring that I came here to visit and fell in love with my future alma mater. The spring of my life, in which my opportunities and skill began to bloom, coloring my life with the most vibrant experiences. You’ve filled my life with the buds of thousands of little joys and given me a reason to push forward until my life explodes with new vitality. I’m incredibly sad to be leaving you but you’ve given me the opportunity to find myself on an amazing road with all the right tools. And so, without any regrets, I push forward to a new dawn, but I’ll always remember the days that I spent here.
I feel pensive, lost in thought about all the things I’ll miss and all the wonderful things I’ve done and now all the things I’m going to do. As for my future, it looks like I’ll be going to Japan to teach English for a while. After that, I’ll be coming back to be an international guy for a gaming company. Who knows, maybe I’ll even start writing too and get those sweet early reviewer copies of games! The possibilities are endless thanks to the time I’ve spent here. So, for now, I suppose it’s さよなら to UNCW and maybe even America. It’s a scary thought, but one that I feel ready for, because no matter what may come, I will continue to push forward with confidence.
– Allen Wooten