“You’re dismissed.” These are the words my orthodontist gives to his patients when they’re done with their yearly retainer checkups and no longer need to visit him. Over this past Spring Break, I received these words. It was a strange feeling not having to schedule an appointment a year in advance. “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton was still on the radio in his office, but it was “yesterday’s favorites” instead of “today’s hits.” It did not seem like long ago when I first got my braces. But it was long ago; it was 11 years ago. I was a young 6th grader who didn’t even have a thought of high school in his mind. But as a left for the last time, I was senior in college, hoping to attend graduate school for Physical Therapy.
People tell you that time goes faster when you get older. I was recently reminiscing about old memories on my floor from freshman year, and I suddenly realized, that was three years ago. It did not seem like three years ago that CampusTown had a Save-A-Lot and Blockbuster Video. It did not seem like three years ago when all student IDs were yellow and everyone’s ID number started with a 1 and not a 2 (and people would think you were drunk if you tried tapping an ID on an ID reader). Not long ago, Geisert was always crowded because it was half the size it is now, and you had to use a physical key to enter into buildings (and you also knew what other buildings and rooms your key had access to besides your own). It seemed like yesterday when BUSecure did not exist, and every dorm room had their own routers for Wi-Fi access (along with many clever and dirty Wi-Fi access point names). It is hard to believe that three years ago, the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center didn’t exist, Westlake Hall was roughly one-fifth of the size, you did not need an ID to enter the library, Main Street Commons was an abandoned Walgreens, and the Renaissance Coliseum was just beginning construction (which would be referred to as “The New Arena” for many months after its’ completion). Also, the Student Center closed at 8, and I may just be speaking for myself, but I was pretty sure that Chatroulette was going to be the future of online video conference calls. But I guess I was wrong about that.
I cannot explain how happy and blessed I am to have spent the last four years here at Bradley University. These last four years have truly flown by. I still remember Move-in Day like it was yesterday. First, my parents and I got our free water bottles from the Newman Center on Bradley Avenue. Then, I got out of my parents’ car in front of Wyckoff Hall on August 22, 2009, and thought to myself, “Wow, I’m in college.” That was over 1300 days ago. That was nearly two-million minutes ago. Where did all the time go?
When the Class of 2013 and I graduate on May 18, we will officially be college graduates. We join the 28% of Americans that have a Bachelor’s degree. Whether our degree is in theater, health science, sports communications, nursing, engineering, marketing, or anything in between, we did it. The diploma we will receive cannot be taken away from us. We earned it, and it’s something we can forever cherish.
I learned a lot of things during my time here. But even with our renowned academics here at Bradley, I can tell you that most of learning did not happen in a classroom.
I am going to miss a lot of things about Bradley. In particular, I’m going to miss the different sounds around campus. The oldest sound I can remember is during my first visit day over four years ago. It was Monday, January 19, 2009. It was freezing outside, and the McDonald’s on Main St. that my family and I stopped at for breakfast did not have their heat working. Before my first campus tour, President Joanne Glasser came up to the podium and said, “now I know what you’re thinking, that I would be taller than this too.” There’s also the classic “this is a test of the Bradley University alert system. This is only a test.” (but then it would keep going and going to remind you that this test was apparently successful). And then there’s the sound of an all-nighter at the library: “may I have your attention please, the time is 3:45 and the library will closing in 15 minutes. Closing procedures will begin immediately, so if you could please pack up your items, and bring all materials to be checked out to the front desk, it would be much appreciated. The library will be open tomorrow from 7:30AM to 4AM. Thank you, and have a good morning.” And we can’t forget the old man that was at every home basketball game behind the student section screaming “GOOO BRADLEY!!” at the top of his lungs. And there’s my personal favorite: “Attention Markin Center guests. The time is now 11:45 and the building will be closed in 15 minutes. Please begin your cool downs and head towards the exits. Clint Boone, take your shower.” Followed by “Clint Boone, it’s 12:05, GET OUT!” It’s funny how a melody can sound more like a memory.
If I could pick one thing that differentiates this school from the rest, it’s the people. The people at this school make the college experience way more memorable. There’s Marci Johnson at the Student Center. She’ll make you your food and sit down with you while you eat. And after she meets you once, she will never forget your name (kind of like Alan Bukingolts). And then there’s Dianne Hollister, the sweetest reference librarian you’ll ever meet. No matter how odd your book request is, she’ll find it. I wish I could go on and describe everyone else at this university, but it’s people like this at Bradley that truly make this campus a home away from home.
No matter where we are 5, 10, 20, or even 50 years from now, we will all always be a part of Bradley University’s history. I can say I was fortunate enough to meet many great people here that will have a lasting impact on my life.
As sad as it sounds, after we graduate, I probably won’t ever see a majority of you ever again for the rest of my life. As Semisonic says in their song “Closing Time,” every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. This is our new beginning. It’s time for us to go out to the places we will be from. Life might get tough down the road, but no matter what challenges you may face, Don’t Stop Believing. You’re all legends.
-Senior health science major Clint Boone