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Gearing up for graduation

Shanel Hughes
Shanel Hughes

Have you ever reached a point in your life that you never thought you would get to? Like, on a Friday evening after you have watched the entire season of Friday Night Lights on Netflix and you have reached the bottom of your one gallon carton of ice cream?

That’s is how I feel about graduation. You have to stop and ask yourself: How did I get here? How did it happen so fast? And, what now? Time in college (and life) goes by fast and slow at the same time. While I am excited about graduating and starting a new chapter in life, graduation is also going to be a bittersweet experience.


My time here at CSU has been great. These past four years I have met some life-long friends, grown as a person and created memories that I will never forget. Where else do you get to do these things? College gives you the unique opportunity to be a grown-up without actually being a grown-up. We are on our own, doing our own things and being responsible while still having summer breaks. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Now, in less than three months, I will be graduating from CSU and leaving Fort Collins. Leaving the place I have called home for the past four years. After speaking with many of my friends who have already made this transition in life, I have come to one conclusion: Even though most of them are happy with their new life, they miss college. The breaks. The people. The atmosphere.

Some of us are sheltered from the real world and its happenings while we are in college, and re-entering this world can be a little shocking. Preparing for this world can be hard when your schedule consists of you sleeping at 4 a.m. and receiving news through your Twitter feed.

Soon, my world will be filled with bills, real news and new, awkward friendships. Since I have been out of the real world for a while, things have changed. Many of my friends didn’t attend college and are at different stages in their life. My friends who did attend college will not be living anywhere near me. While working may present free time (if your work stays at work), scheduling time to hang out with others may be difficult. These days, I can catch half of my friends in the dining hall all at one time.

And, oh, how I will miss some things about Fort Collins. Like how many things are in walking distance from campus. How restaurants stay open and deliver until 3 a.m. The beautiful views of the mountains and other natural scenery. Living in a college town like Fort Collins will reside in me forever.

With all this being said, I am still excited to graduate. My time at CSU and in Fort Collins has not been all flowers and warm fuzzies. The thought of never having homework again (at least for a while) sounds better than anything I have heard in a while. The thought of moving back to my city, being close to the people I love, and actually having a great public transportation system also sounds incredible. Oh, and let’s not forget about getting a nice paycheck. These things make graduation seem like it is taking forever. And, I am so over having senioritis.

So as I near these last couple of months in school, I want to make the best of my experience here at CSU and Fort Collins. I want to meet new people. Go new places. Eat at new restaurants. I want to live these few months out like I will never return to Fort Collins again. We enter and leave new stages in life all the time. College is one that I will truly miss. So, if you are not graduating this spring, make sure you are taking advantage of all that college has to offer. All the free food. All the free activities. All the free social time. When breaks come around, enjoy them; I mean really enjoy them. Don’t rush to get into the real world, because once you are there, you are there forever. There is no turning back. College may not get you fully prepared for this new world, but I can’t think of a time in the near future where I will ever be this popular again, and I feel that evens things out.

Shanel Hughes is excited and nervous about graduation. Comments can be sent to

In Brief:


  • Even though graduation is long awaited, it is still sad.

  • Enjoy and take advantage of college life.

  • New chapters begin and end all the time. That’s just life.

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