By Stephanie Vacchio
Last week, after flipping through the Concordiensis (and obviously reading my own article) I noticed a cute little ad. The ad was created by Bombers Burrito Bar owner and Union alum Matt Baumgartner, who graduated in 1995. Essentially, Matt’s message to students promotes all the wonderful things our parents hope we aren’t doing when they send in that tuition check: drinking, not studying, and having too much fun.
Fun. For some of us, we are slowly forgetting what that word feels like. With the threat of the real world sneaking up on us and thesis season in full throttle, who has time for fun?
At first, I will admit, I was put off by Matt’s ad. He’s letting us think that slacking off, nearly failing, and excelling in beer pong instead of biology will get us far in life. For some (like Matt), great things do happen even if we don’t succeed in college. But for the rest of us usually unlucky folks, we shouldn’t count our chickens before they hatch. I know I won’t be getting into law school if all I am doing is having fun. Thesis has taken over my life, and at this point I am dreaming about Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream.
I know most of my peers take their academics seriously, and I applaud you all for that. But here is a reality check: for 547 of the current students at Union, this is our last year. In two weeks, we will finish our last fall term. How scary is that?
So what’s my point? Well, my point is—Matt’s got a point. Studying is important. Graduating with a great GPA is important. Moving on to bigger things in life is important, and succeeding at whatever you go on to do is important.
But you know what else is important? Walking away from college saying, “I’m glad I did that.” Being able to accomplish every single thing you want to at Union before June 12 is important. Having fun is important! This experience only happens once, and it is almost over. Do the things you have always wanted to do here. Take a study break and go to a restaurant you have never tried in Schenectady. Paint the Idol. Go running around the perimeter of Union. Just do it. Seriously, go now.
Maybe I sound crazy. Or lame. Or nostalgic for freshman year. Whatever the case, graduation is knocking at my door, making me realize that in just a few short months, my time at Union is up. And I sure as hell won’t leave this place without having done everything I want to do.
Matt’s right: we need to have fun—but we don’t need to fail or drink in excess to do it. There is no doubt in my mind that many of you have managed to have fun, to have great experiences and meet great people all while keeping a great GPA. Keep it up—only this time, think about how these experiences might not be available to you this time next year. For those of you who have been having too much fun up until now, also think about this time next year. Real world. Real job. Real scary.
So keep studying, keep working, keep on researching for your thesis. But don’t take every day so seriously. There is always room for fun. Hell, go to Bombers and have a burrito, because life is short, and college life is even shorter.