Here’s a topic that means more to me than even food does.  Indulge me while I get a little nostalgic…

There isn’t a word to describe how I feel when I consider that my graduation from college is in less than two weeks.  Terrified, is a good word, as is waytoosad, but there is something else.  Nostalgic seems like a silly thing to say, especially because I haven’t even left the confines of this crazy cow town yet, but I think it is the best fit.  I am nostalgic for previous years, when all I had to worry about was cramming five weeks worth of reading into one (just kidding Dad, I never did that), and what I was going to wear to the next theme party.  Now, I find myself completely unsure of what I am doing or where I am going when the summer ends (SO PLEASE DON’T ASK ME ABOUT IT, RELATIVES).  In spite of this nostalgia and uncertainty, I have had some moments of clarity in the past few weeks, and they can simply boil down to this: I am the luckiest.  I have been completely spoiled by my life in Davis and truly consider it the best place on earth to obtain an education.  I am sure many of you can relate.  Even though there is an overwhelming feeling of sadness about leaving this incredibly special place in the near future, I am the happiest now that I have ever been, and I owe that all to my time at Davis.

I also owe this happiness to my time as a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. For those of you who think that sororities are the downfall of modern education, self-congratulatory super secret societies, or venues for bored girls to pay for friends, I have to shake my head at you.  I have met some of the most incredible women through my sorority, and they have inspired me to be a better person.  Not through large gestures, although there have been a good number of those, but more for the way in which the small things they have done—championed this blog, called me out on my shit, laughed at my corny jokes, sang recruitment songs and pretended to like it, made me feel as if my awkwardness was in fact endearing—have encouraged me, made me laugh, and most importantly, made me pause to consider that maybe my way isn’t always the right way.  Decorating shirts at our sorority house before our senior bar crawl, debating the merits of black pen over blue and laughing at the ridiculousness of 40 girls wearing matching baseball tees, I stopped to realize how lucky I am to have this group of best friends, good friends, and acquaintances, all of whom posses qualities that I admire and who are people that I genuinely want to be around.  I am so lucky for this. I entered college relatively shy, overly sensitive, and unsure of my abilities, but I leave as someone who loves the person that her friends, experiences and education have made her.  I owe this to Davis, and even more to Kappa Kappa Gamma.

There was a time this year when I couldn’t wait to graduate.  Winter quarter in Davis is a notoriously depressing time for everyone, as our California-born-and-bred bodies balk at even the slightest of rain.  I’m sure everyone has felt that pull at some point, the one that says, “If only I weren’t here, then things would be better.”  Maybe it would be sunnier, your professors would assign less work, and your body would be houseboats ready (even though all you do is eat Funayn’s and watch the Real Housewives).  My advice to those underclassmen who find themselves contemplating these questions? STOP.  Get out of your rainy day blanket nest, you lazy shut-in and make your own happiness!!  Fight that hangover and get bagels in the morning with your friends.  Brave the cold and check out the farmers market.  Go to happy hour at Vito’s and order a Tangerine Wheat, even if you have an essay due the next day.  Walk to Trader Joe’s and take advantage of the free samples and free coffee, multiple times in a day.  Request that song just one more time at Froggy’s—maybe the Preacher will finally play it. Stay up late with your roommates, a bottle of wine, and a marathon of quality Lifetime movies. I promise you, it is all worth it.

I’ll never forget the night this quarter where my friends and I decided to order Chinese food and watch the Bachelorette.  Sydney and I arrived at Wok of Flame and were presented with no less than 16 cartons of Chinese food, tucked away in an industrial size packing box, and all we could do was laugh.  I will miss moments like that. Simple. Easy.  For me, it’s important to remember that my best times at this amazingly special place cannot be pinpointed to one exact date, or one specific event.  In this respect, time is an inadequate measure of the best moments. It’s the snapshots of the unexpected that I will miss the most, the moments that were “so Davis” that I will take with me into the future, and remember with a mixture of happiness and longing.

So here’s to the DC food that we hated as freshman, and now, as seniors, would do anything for (thank you Dingo, for being my personal meal ticket).  To Mojito Night—the best Thursday nights  with $12 pitchers, and a plate or two or three (I’m lookin’ at you, Syd) of discounted appetizers (the calories don’t count if they’re cheaper, right?).   Here’s to being a terrified freshman meeting your orientation roommate, unaware that in four years you would still be roommates, and more importantly the kind of best friends that some people never find.  Here’s to Tres, and it’s stupidly long lines, and also those dangerous loaded Corona’s. Here’s to relieving pre-recruitment stress by taking over Little Prague with ten of your sorority sisters and your very best rendition of Tiny Dancer.  To the late-night, early-morning group texts no one else understands or cares about, but that make you laugh every time you look at them. To Right Hooks, Wikis, and Woodstocks to end the night.  To all the things that will never be acceptable after graduation—Houseboats, Ugly Sweaters, daytime beer-shotgunning, biking to the bars.  Here’s to the CoHo, Peter J., The Death Star, and the dreaded Memorial Union parking structure during peak hours.  Here’s to attempting to pay your cab driver to the tune of “Don’t Stop Believing,” rather than with paper money. To bacon breakfast sandwiches after a long night out, trips to Vegas with 30 friends, miserable mornings at Margaritaville, and reality television and freshly squeezed juice.  These are all things that have helped make these the best four years of my life (and maybe yours too!!), and while it is easy to look back on them now as graduation approaches and feel pangs of sadness, I would like to think that we can be thankful for them, for the ways in which they’ve enhanced our college experiences and made us the people that we are today.  There are no words to express how happy I am for those moments.

I have always said that Davis is a special place, and I will continue to say it for the rest of my life.  There is a feeling in this town that I honestly believe cannot be found anywhere else.  Some people might favor the big city life over a downtown area comprised of seven small blocks, but I whole heartedly disagree.  Where else can you casually bike from your house on Anderson to a restaurant downtown, running into no less than three different people you know and inviting them to join you? Where else can you spot your English professor at de Vere’s engaging in a pint and a game of Apples to Apples? What I am trying to say in this long-winded (sorry!) entry, is that Davis, California has been the best decision that I have ever made, and I will look back on my years here with happiness and contentment (and okay, maybe a little bit of embarrassment). So instead of sitting there thinking about all the things that have happened, and how those moments will never be recreated, remember to be THANKFUL that they did.  And smile. You are lucky! I am lucky! It has truly been the greatest.

So, here’s to being the class of 2012, at the best university, in the best town, that I could ever ask for.



4 responses »

  1. this made me tear up!!!!! i love you mdy

  2. Leslie says:

    Mandy! You didn’t mention I should have grabbed a box of tissues… Congratulations!

  3. Michie says:

    Oh, how you made me miss my SB days! Congrats, cousin, and enjoy every second of these last moments. Whoever said that high school was the best time in their life didn’t go to college, right?

    So what are you doing after you graduate? 😉

  4. sfrick08 says:

    So well put. I wish I could articulate my love for Davis quite so well!

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