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Learn from this academic year for a better next year

Patrick Crowley

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As this academic year is wrapping up and students are eagerly looking forward to their summer activities and next academic year, it is imperative that students reflect on their past year’s activities inside and outside of the classroom and determine appropriate paths and endeavors for next year. Essentially, by understanding where one has come from and been through, he or she is better prepared for the future in all endeavors.

For instance, I am suggesting that all students realize the professors who have positively affected them and develop mentoring relationships with them; think about the events of the fall with the school board election and the sorority integration process and ponder what appropriate steps can and, more importantly, should be taken next so more diversity and mutual respect is encouraged across campus; and select appropriate extracurricular activities that create future opportunities and benefit more than oneself or a select few.

For students with summer opportunities, be it an internship (paid or unpaid), research experience or any other opportunity, I encourage you to represent yourself and this University in a first-class way. Be inquisitive and keep an open mind, but do not ask the same question more than once. Work hard and impress your supervisors, but do not work more hours than are needed. Indeed, part of the summer experience for college students is to move to another city and discover a new culture for yourself. It is about taking a dive and visiting the museums and local festivals and finding a few neat bars to waste away the weekend nights and potentially the after-work hours.

For the graduating students, you have successfully finished an education and no matter the future endeavor, you carry a degree from The University of Alabama, which will hold significant weight and value for the rest of your life. Continue to stay engaged with the University and help the University spread its blooming reputation by representing the University in a first-class way. Keep in contact with younger friends and professors and gladly help those who seek your assistance. At the risk of being cliché and basic, I will spare you the unofficial motto of the University, but the phrase is something everyone should strive to perform.

I must caveat all of that since I am a fellow student and am by no means perfect nor a truly sensible person based on my 20 years of learning. However, I have had enough life experiences to realize that no matter where I go, knowing how I got there is the only way to continue progressing to where I really want to be. I encourage every returning student to reflect on this past year and enjoy this summer, because next year could be even wilder and better. For the graduates, congratulations and best of luck.

Patrick Crowley is a junior majoring in mathematics, finance and economics. His column runs weekly.

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Learn from this academic year for a better next year