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The End of Undergrad: Reflecting On My College Experience

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

I am presently in my final weeks of college. When looking forward to this time, I always imagined I would face some sort of cascade of epiphanies… Some concrete lessons I could put into words and carry in my pocket like sea shells after a beach trip. Now I am here, and this article title I picked out months ago stares at me mockingly. I don’t think I could ever truly verbalize the change I have undergone in my undergrad. I don’t think anyone can explain the transition from 18 to 21, and I think the idea that I ever thought I could is looking a little ridiculous now. 

Here’s what I can say: growing up is a strange, unconscious, and slow trap that you can’t see, hear, touch or even feel until it’s over. I think it is easy to talk about the tangible aspects of college: the lessons I’ve learned about friendship, academics, relationships, etc. However, what those things all ultimately add up to is individual change. My time at UC Davis has molded and changed me. Every laugh I’ve ever shared with my friends, every final I’ve approached unprepared, every evening I’ve spent sitting on the kitchen floor while my roommates made dinner, every night out, every difficult conversation, every social faux pas, every songs first listen in the car… Each second has shifted me gradually and irreversibly and graduation is just an excuse to gather those moments into one frame of time and try to sort through the ‘then’ from the ‘now’.

Truthfully, individual change doesn’t have an end or beginning and that is what I find most comforting about closing this chapter of my life, because as much as it feels like it is over, it is all just one big continuation; maybe I’ll be in a different city with different people, different jokes and different songs… But the change is constant and it will happen anyway. A milestone is just that… A milestone. In that way maybe I did pick up lessons like seashells at the beach, but it feels much more understated and much less purposeful than that. It is more like spending a day at the beach and unwittingly bringing back hundreds of grains of sand in your hair and shoes, on your clothes and skin…it was so completely unintended, so beautifully unplanned, and so purely outside of the human need to control what we do and do not absorb. Sure, tracking sand into your apartment can be annoying later and you’ll never really be able to vacuum it all up, but feeling it on your feet weeks after returning to dry land is romantic in a way… You never really leave the beach again.

That will always be Davis to me, those grains of sand cling to my skin and sit at the bottom of my bag, they rest on my eyelashes and trace the linings of my socks. I will shower a hundred times, change apartments and clothes, my mind and my heart…and still feel the grains of change under my feet. As bittersweet as leaving the beach is, I know I’ll carry it with me wherever I go next and I am so grateful to have impacted and been impacted in whatever small or big ways I have by my time here these last three years.

Hello! My Name is Madeline Malak, I am from Redding California and a third year at UC Davis. I major in History, but I have always had a passion for literature whether that be reading others work or writing my own. My favorite book is The Count Of Monte Cristo. Some of my other interests include movie reviewing, listening to music, and being super funny, cool, and awesome.