In approximately 200 days, I — as well as many other college seniors — will be walking across the stage and ending what has been a challenging, albeit memorable, chapter of our lives.
For three-and-a-half years, my long weeks spent in classes were punctuated with Oklahoma State University football games — the highlight of my fall semesters. No matter whether it was a home or away game, watching my Cowboys play was always on the docket for Saturday night.
To me, having a team to cheer for and follow religiously was everything I wanted out of college, and part of the reason I choose OSU.
Members of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrate with fans after the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders November 17, 2012 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Our football games became such a big part of my life that it came to the point that I began to store and sort my memories in terms of OSU football games. For example, I remember that the homecoming game against University of Missouri my freshman year was the night I met the person who would become my best friend.
And I remember that the Iowa State game in 2011 was the same day as the tragic plane crash that took the lives of our women’s basketball head coach, assistant coach and two OSU basketball program supporters. It was our only loss that season and a day that the OSU community would never forget.
The rest of my 27 football games in Stillwater were just as memorable.
With each touchdown, I got a little bit older and wiser. I learned that standing in line for two hours before the gates opened at the stadium really didn’t matter because people who show up at kickoff will get seats just the same.
I learned that no matter what the temperature is, you should always bring a jacket — preferably one with a hood. I learned that you should never sit next to someone in the stands who reeks of alcohol, and I learned that “How ‘bout them Cowboys?” is an appropriate way to start a conversation with any stranger in Stillwater, Okla.
Although I still have another semester left in my college career, I am finally realizing that graduation is in the not-so-distant future. My last home football game was Saturday, and singing the alma mater at the end of it for the last time was a bittersweet feeling that only the thought of leaving a place I now consider my home could induce.
While this is certainly not the end of my love for my school, it is beginning of a different kind of relationship with my soon-to-be alma mater. The relationship of an alumnus with his or her former school is a powerful and exciting journey that I am extremely eager for.
I can’t be sure if every college senior agrees, but the fact that my time on the practice field will end and I’ll finally step into the stadium to play the game feels utterly daunting, but exactly what I have been preparing for.
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