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Commencement voices: Emerson student looks back on 'long, strange trip'

Posted by Laura Gomez  May 6, 2013 11:34 AM

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(Globe file photo)

An earlier Emerson College commencement.

Part of a series of essays by graduating college seniors.

Some will say that their high school years were the best times of their lives. But I can honestly say that those people are liars. When you arrive at college as a know-it-all freshman, you think you have it all figured out, but in your next four years you will come to realize that you didn’t have a clue.

The college experience is one of the most amazing opportunities that anyone in this day and age can have, and too many of us take it for granted. As a graduating senior, I’m here to tell you that being a college undergraduate is the closest thing to the perfect life that you will ever lead.

You have enough responsibility to feel like you’re a “real adult” and enough freedom to hang yourself with. All wrapped up within the safe umbrella of a four-year institution that allows you to make and learn from your mistakes.

The difference between your college graduation and your high school graduation is that in high school, I couldn’t get across that stage fast enough. Now I look at that May 12, 2013 marker on my calendar and wonder if I’m ready. I’ve taken the tests, I’ve passed in the projects, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to miss my school or the people at it any less.

As a not-so-distant future Emerson grad, I’ve had a lot of amazing opportunities because of the name that will be on my diploma in a little over a week. A lot of individuals back home might look at my major of study and ask what in the heck I plan to do with that. Or take a look at my loan statements and ask if it was worth it.

I have to truly and honestly say that it was. I learned so much about myself in four years and also discovered that I still have a lot left to learn. Life is what you make it and people say that because it’s true. I made it an amazing final semester writing for this website that you’re reading right now. I discovered that during the midst of a tragedy, I was strong enough not to just sit back in fear but to give some very brave people a chance to tell their story.

This city has made me the person that I am today, whether it be talking to and writing about its wonderful people or sharing the music I love with them from behind a microphone. I hope that every Boston graduate in their final days look back on this beautiful skyline fondly.

When you’re about to graduate there are so many emotions running through your mind. Fear, excitement, anticipation, and the realization that you’re really not just a kid anymore. It’s hard. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Especially heading out into the industries that those older and wiser than me have told me I should fear the most. I may never make any money as a journalist and I may never pay the bills as a DJ, but at least I can say to myself that I had the opportunity to do something that I really loved.

If I had to sum it up, I would tell future graduates that whatever it is that you feel you are made to do, go for it. Put yourself out there, because if you don’t do it certainly no one else will. And remember the people along the way who have gotten you to where you are, standing in your cap and gown. Resist the urge to tell anyone who has gotten on your last nerve where they can put their opinion because you never know who may become a connection in the future.

At the risk of sounding cliché, which at this point is pretty much inevitable, I can only use music to express the sentiments that I don’t know how.

What a long strange trip it’s been.

Alex Parker is a graduating senior at Emerson College.

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