Student Voice


November 30, 2023




With graduation comes regret

December 8, 2006

As I mentally prepare to take my final steps as a student next weekend, it has become increasingly obvious that I don’t really want to leave. And with that realization has come much reflection on the past five years of my life.

Two years ago, I was stuffing classes into my schedule, desperately trying to graduate this December so I could... what was it now? Oh yeah, get married.

I lived a basically quiet life at home, spending most days with my significant other and sporadically throwing in social bouts with a few best friends from high school. I talked to a few people in classes on campus, but couldn’t tell you that there are three libraries in this city (or how to locate any of them), I had never eaten in “the cave,” and Ground Zero remained a thing of the past — 2001, to be exact.

I had absolutely no connection to River Falls and couldn’t wait to erase its virtually nonexistent dent from my memory.

Yet here I sit, sipping wine from a champagne flute, thinking about how much I don’t want to leave this part of my life behind.

I’ve never been good at taking advice. In fact, I prefer to argue against it — always — and when it turns out I was wrong in the first place, I take credit for finding my way out of those bad decisions with a firm sense of the better ones.

So from all the stupid choices I made in the past five years, here’s what I know now: I should have ignored the stereotypes about UWRF as a high school senior and started my freshman year here instead of at the U of M. Yes — cows, rodeos and all. It’s not the institution’s reputation that is vital to college success, but rather the opportunities available.

Eat that, Minnesota Daily.

I should have cared less about noise and more about quality of life by moving to River Falls instead of commuting 25 miles six days a week.

I would be $5,000 richer had I been smarter about this one— coincidentally wealthy enough to purchase a new car, considering all the miles I put on Silvia.

I should have started working at the Voice the minute I stepped foot on this campus.

Do you have any idea how refreshing it is to develop friendships with people who share your passions and ethics, rather than sticking with the ones this superficial society opts to group you with?

I should have left my high school boyfriend where he belonged — in high school.

My hometown tends to breed people who believe the entire world is encompassed into a relatively small suburban plot, and leaving means dropping off the face of the planet.

Well then strap me into a spacesuit, because at 22 I haven’t met nearly enough people to make any sort of rational decision on who I should spend the rest of my life with.

I should have learned Silver Strike, foosball (go Team Fucking Awesome!), Golden Tee and Beer Pong a few years ago, so I wouldn’t have to exhaustingly cram four years of college fun into one final semester. Wait— scratch that last part. Flooding my final semester with Amaretto Sours, picnic days and “Almost Famous” on the roof has been the best time of my life.

I knew I did something right.

Helen Clarke is a student at UW-River Falls.