Four Years Later

We all, at times, feel helpless against the ever-ticking hands of the clock. The weight of time feels burdensome on our shoulders, even more so now that we approach what is, the most significant milestone in our young lives to date.

The moment always seemed far enough away to put off, but this moment has arrived. As we approach graduation, we lament how the last four years have slipped through our fingers so swiftly.

But in our grief for the ending of our undergraduate lives— as with anything worth grieving for—there is a wonderful nostalgia that accompanies it.

UVM has shaped us all more than anything else. Our parents instilled in us a set of fundamental values and breathed life into our hopes and dreams, but it was within UVM’s embrace that we truly discovered who we were.

Think of how we’ve grown here. Think of who we were when we first stepped out of the back-seat of our parent’s car four years ago and think of who we are now. We are almost unrecognizable aren’t we?

Think of how tolerant we have become; how diverse our community is. Think of how our preconceived notions of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation have been shattered and reconstructed by our vibrant student body.

Think of how struck we always are at the beauty of this land. How when we walk to class we look up at the views of the Green Mountains and when we walk home again we look down upon Lake Champlain and the mountains beyond.

Think about how the sky above us seems to hold the bluest of blues and the work of art that is painted above us each day as the sun lazily slips behind the Adirondacks.

Think about all that we have learned here. The professors that have changed the way we look at education and the classes that have opened our eyes to the world.

Think about that moment when we realized that we were truly passionate about something.

Think of all the organizations that we have made better. We all know that our time at this place would be nothing without the clubs that we are a part of.

They gave us some of our closest friends but also allowed us to achieve incredible feats.

We have published newspapers, hosted radio programs, raised trophies above our heads, served our community, raised money for those in need and so much more.

Think about the Friday night hockey games and the Saturday afternoon basketball games. Think about our basketball team reaching two NCAA tournaments in our time here.

And think about just how loud Patrick Gym was this year in the America East Championship game.

Think about all of the experiences we have shared together.

About Church Street in the summer time and about the September afternoons at North Beach. About the crowded basements in the dead of winter and the sun-drenched porches in the heat of July.

Think about the times we went to the mountain early on Saturday mornings or the times when we couldn’t make it there because the night before was just that good.

Think about how we have endured. Think of all the times we have been challenged in ways that pushed our resolve to the brink of breaking but somehow we overcame. Think of how this place has toughened us.

Look around for a friend. Think about how lucky we are to have them in our life. Our friends that we have made here give this whole thing meaning, and when we have left this beautiful place, they are the things that will come with us.

When we have thought about all these things we realize that the deep sorrow we feel about being finished only clings to us so stubbornly because the thing being left behind is so good, so perfect.

We should all feel sad that such a perfect thing is coming to an end. We should all shed a tear as we pack our cars with our belongings and drive off to some new place where the only certainty is that most things will be uncertain.

But as all of this happens, we should take one last moment to give thanks to what has happened here.

We have, together, spent the last four years attending the University of Vermont, living in the city of Burlington. And for this, all of us have been blessed.