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Four years is a long time

The past four years seem to hold every best and worst memory I have had, every important lesson I have learned, every new best friend I have made, every detail I learned about myself and every gain in maturity I have made. Four years ago seems more like decades ago, but at the same time the memories I hold feel like yesterday.
As I struggled with ideas on how to fit these past four years in 700 words, I began to remember all the experiences I had at Bradley. All of the drama, the parties, the new friendships, the failed relationships, the all-nighters and the stories that would be told again and again came back to me, and I realized something.
I would not take back any of it. 
For those who know me, they might find this confession surprising. For those who don’t, I’ll let you in on why: I have made some stupid decisions in my four years here.
Some of these include finding out that going to class with a hangover was not as glamorous as it sounded, or that spreading false rumors about people and poking your nose in petty drama always resulted in negative consequences.
Also, running around Fredonia in nothing but a towel and bare feet, calling my mom and asking her to pick up my bar tab, going to Wal-Mart at 2 a.m., spending my grocery money at Plato’s Closet, locking myself out of a rental car while trying to catch a flight (and missing that flight and the six others after), continuing to use my toilet after water was flooding into the hall and all those late night Bacci’s runs were not the best life choices either. 
But without those unfortunate events, and all the rest of the idiotic adventures I made for myself, I would not be me. 
Freshman year I came to Bradley sheltered, nervous and ecstatic to be away from my parents’ ironclad grip. Of course I eventually found myself thrown into drama escalated by grouping girls and boys into a small dormitory for nine months with one lounge and loosely-enforced rules. I learned my lesson fast – gossip spreads like wildfire and no matter what you do or who you are, someone is always judging you. 
Instead of doing things for the sole purpose of pleasing other people, I discovered that acting upon my beliefs and my beliefs alone made me much happier. I knew the things that were important to me – doing well in school, staying loyal to my friends who always stuck by my side, and living up life with the short amount of time I had as an undergraduate – and I kept true to them. 
At the end of my freshman year, I became a staff member on the Bradley Scout. The first year working here tested how far I would go to keep a job I loved while everyone else was unanimously trying to get me fired. 
I did my best to set aside the negativity and do the best job I could. Three years later I’m still standing, still loving my job and finally enjoying my co-workers as well.  
Throughout the years I began to look for the silver lining in bad situations. There is a bigger picture that most fail to see. Skipping class only to realize I had skipped a test taught me to always attend my lectures. I learned my lesson about relationships, and now I not only know what I’m looking for, but also the characteristics that scream “Avoid me!!”
The best moments of my four years in college were the mornings my friends and I would gather for brunch and recap the night before, shaking our heads and laughing at ourselves. There was no judgment or regrets. Everyone had their own story and their own lesson to share. We knew that the next weekend we would be sitting in the same spot once again, but with new tales to tell. 
It is said that a person will regret an “I wish I did” far more than an “I shouldn’t have.”  If I hadn’t applied this notion to my life, I would not be writing this column right now. I would have missed out on years of memories made with my staff. I would have missed out on years of memories in my life.
My bad decisions made me who I am. So thank you to those who encouraged me to take that one last shot, who judged me when I was different, who didn’t stop me from talking when the filter in my brain stopped working and who whispered about me as I passed them.
But most of all, thank you to everyone who was standing beside me as I asked, “Do you think we should?” and their reply was always “Absolutely.”
Megan Loos is a senior psychology major from Schaumburg. She was the Scout photo editor.
Megan, you’ve actually matured these past four years?
Direct comments, questions and other responses to mloos@mail.bradley.edu.