Graduating seniors reflect as the end approaches

Delaney Shea, News Contributor

It’s amazing how time can enrich perspectives. People’s worldviews are constantly evolving as they are exposed to new ways of thinking, which allow them to view the actions of others, and themselves, differently. With that in mind, it makes sense that each graduating senior has a unique story of their time at Oregon State University, and a mentality that has likely evolved since their first year.

According to Sarah Koonse, a graduating fourth-year majoring in zoology, her time at Oregon State was magical.

“OSU has been a whirlwind and a magical getaway since the very beginning. Living in the international dorms my freshman year allowed me to hear crazy, magical stories from around the world and dancing on the Elite Dance Team gave me a magical feeling of a dance family,” Koonse said via email. “Not to mention how lucky I am to get such an awesome education and learn so much in the field of zoology!” 

To earn a degree from OSU, students must complete and pass at least 180 credits’ worth of classes, complete the Baccalaureate Core, maintain at least a 2.00 GPA and complete course requirements for their specific major or majors. Students, like Miranda Raw, a graduating fourth-year senior majoring in exercise and sport science, have to work hard to achieve their goal—a degree.

“If I could describe OSU in one word, it would have to be the word ambition. I say this because when I first came to OSU I wanted to work hard enough to become a pharmacist, but then it wasn’t for me because of chemistry,” Raw said via email. “Even when I didn’t know what I was doing, I still had the utmost desire to find what I was best at in order to get the best grades that I could get while enjoying what I loved. I ended up being an exercise and sport science major and I love it every single day. I still commit myself just as much as I did freshman year to achieve the biggest goal, which is a college degree.” 

Graduating seniors didn’t just focus on grades—they went out and engaged in activities that helped them find a sense of belonging and community.

“The atmosphere at OSU is amazing and I think everyone has a chance to find a niche here,” said Ivan Kallevig, a fifth-year majoring in political science, via email.

However long graduating seniors spent at Oregon State, it made an impact on those years and how students grew. According to Steven Nemer, a fifth-year double-majoring in finance and accounting, his time at OSU could be described as holistic. Besides his two majors, he was very involved with Greek Life, specifically the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and the interfraternity council, and Hillel, a Jewish campus life organization.

“OSU gave me more than a textbook education. It provided me with the opportunity to engage in the community and develop the soft skills that will help in my life and career,” Nemer said.

Whether students had a magical time at OSU or one that had some things they would change if they could go back, soon-to-be-graduates are facing a future full of different directions they can choose from.

Koonse is not yet certain what her path forward will be, but she knows it will take her south, into new situations.

“The future is a little uncertain. All I know is my next adventure will be in sunny San Diego, Calif. No matter what, I’m sure it will be filled with wonder,” Koonse said via email.

Exciting, yet uncertain and perhaps a little scary, adventures were a fairly common theme among graduating seniors. After a few years of stability, soon-to-be grads are about to set off in pursuit of new goals.

“I currently have applied for two jobs that look promising, but until I hear back from either of them, I do not know what I am doing. It will be an adventure!” said Kelsey Hilsenteger, fourth-year chemical engineering student, via email.

Besides the newfound freedom to pursue new adventures, some students are excited about other types of freedom as well.

“(I feel) liberated: I should have plenty of opportunities within the tech industry with my degree. Also no homework, oh thank God, no homework,” said Tanner Fry, a fifth-year in applied computer science, via email.

According to Ben Appleby, a fourth-year student in chemical engineering, his future looks serendipitous. According to Appleby, in college, the experiences people have are somewhat homogenous. He is excited to see the OSU class of 2017 go out into the world, find themselves through tackling new challenges and accomplish great things.

“I think the future looks exciting, because I’m looking forward to what myself and my peers will be able to accomplish. Up to this point we’ve all shared similar experiences in the school system, and as everyone goes into the real world, their own personal approach is going to define who they become,” Appleby said via text.

This is not to say that students are going to fearlessly find their calling right after graduation. Many students are a little apprehensive, and rightly so.

According to Gio Fiorenza, a fifth-year student majoring in kinesiology, his future after graduation looks “scary as hell,” despite having some idea of where he’s going. 

“I got a really good job in Washington, but it’s in a place where I know nobody,” Fiorenza said via text.

In another five or so years, after confronting their fears and going on plenty of escapades, grads will have a brand-new set of words to define their lives. They will meet others who see the world in different ways, and they will have more time to reflect on how they form opinions, and how they put their experiences and perspectives into words. But for now, they get to celebrate their success.

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