Preparing to leave the nest: Seniors’ parting thoughts to the UD community

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Three senior students reflect back on their time at the University of Dallas as they prepare for commencement ceremonies and for life outside of the UD bubble:

Dear University of Dallas community,

Thank you for an unbelievable four years of fun and spiritual and academic enrichment.  As I begin to prepare for my departure from this utopian society we call UD, I have a few words of wisdom to pass along.  Please take note:

First, get involved on campus, particularly with SPUD.  SPUD is the greatest organization of all time, and my friends doubled when I joined. This can happen to you too!

Second, don’t confuse business majors and economics majors; I hate it.

Third, live in Old Mill.  It’s fun, but don’t expect to be happy there.  I cannot wait to stand in a shower rather than kneel, walk on sidewalk without the fear of glass, and use a stove top where all four burners work.

Fourth, don’t go to Rome.  Everybody does it, and you have your whole life to travel abroad.  You only have four years to enjoy TGIT every Thursday.

Fifth, don’t be afraid of following the cliché and finding your soulmate.  I found mine, and it’s pretty darn sweet (this is a serious one).

Sixth, don’t try to understand why the food in the Rathskeller is better than the food in the cafeteria.  The truth will not set you free.
Lastly, don’t try to pop the UD bubble.  That bubble is what makes this place so great.
Goodbye, UD.

-John “LJ” Norton, economics

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I recently returned to UD from a short but refreshing foray into the “real world outside the bubble.” I’m not sure if either of these things actually exist, but that’s not the point of what I’m trying to say. What I’m getting at is that I had some time to look at my experience from the outside in, and frankly it depressed me, but I don’t hate UD, just what I did here. I became a knowledge freak, the most degenerate type of head.

I came to UD wanting to write well, to say important things in even the most banal Lit Trad papers. As a freshman, I asked seniors to proofread my papers and then would do no less than half a dozen drafts, churning out a thoughtful paper that would no sooner be handed in than returned with some pithy comment about not following the prompt. I was trying to unlock the secrets of the mind, not parrot back the differences between Dante and Milton’s worldviews!

So to cope with the ever-mounting workload and frustration with my apparent intellectual impotence, I turned to caffeine and nicotine, mixing my whites with my reds and came up with a deadly cocktail worthy of any professional speed freak. Now the only way I can make it through the day is to get so twisted that I can almost function enough to get any semblance of work done.

As Dr. Thompson says, all heads are intolerable, but I find booze junkies much more manageable than knowledge junkies. There is nothing more pitiable than seeing a bright teenage girl reduced to a gibbering mess that cannot even change out of her pajamas each morning. The people responsible for this are the real criminals. Forget the hooded freaks pushing heroin in playgrounds – the real degenerates are those who push basement batches of knowledge to college students.

But enough of that tangent; I’m trying to write one final goodbye to this place before I graduate, and this is no place for pointless asides. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t take the thing too seriously. You’ll get twisted and become one of the worst freaks of all – a beady-eyed academic fascist hooked on knowledge.

-Phil Cerroni, drama

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Four years ago, I had my choice of several dozen schools in the country – public, private, secular, Catholic. Somehow – you could call it providential – I ended up here, at the University of Dallas, at this strange Cold War college, this odd liberal arts institution that has become so dear to my heart.

These past few years have taught me more than how to read, think and write. During my time at UD, I have learned to live fully and without regret. The sweetness of life in the freshman dorms, the Rome semester, the intimacy of faculty-student relationships, the genuine character of the student body and the opportunity to be a part of an institution so different from its counterparts all taught me to live life to the fullest. And, with this carpe diem perspective, I want to express my gratitude to you, the current students and future alumni of this community, for the most wonderful years of my life.
At the same time, I implore you to cherish every moment of your time here, because there is life after UD. Only by recognizing the bitter-sweet brevity of your time here will you be able to both make the most of it and be prepared to move on after graduation, using UD as a point of departure from which you will build beautiful lives and do great things. With that parting advice, I congratulate you on the completion of another successful academic year, and I thank you for making me the person I am today.

-Grace Ballor, politics and history

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