by Chris Pena
Well, my friends, we have come to the end of a memorable ride together.
The time has come for me to leave these hallowed grounds in search of higher acclamation.
I never thought college graduation would include me. But lo and behold, the end of this road, as well as the start of a new one, is within sight.
Attending college allowed me to expand my horizons, my knowledge and my tolerance -- changes that don't occur without significant prodding.
Without a doubt, the most influential person in my four years at the University of Houston has been Ime Ukpanah, a history professor.
He kindly taught me that history is about much more than interesting anecdotes. I learned that history transcends the classroom and that as intelligent human beings, we have the ability to prevent past injustices from once again rearing their ugly heads.
And come to think of it, if you only get one thing out of college, it should be a deep compassion for your fellow human.
Look around, look at yourself. If you happen to believe that you are superior to someone else, ask yourself why.
At one time or another, regardless of the color of our skin or our religious belief, we are all in the same boat.
Why does hate exist?
I wish I could answer that ... for myself.
Professor Ukpanah seeks to pacify the anger some of his students feel. One of his favorite sayings is, "Don't look at the past and get angry."
I never quite understood what he meant by that. After all, if my countrymen had been decimated by your countrymen, shouldn't I hate you for it?
Alas, I've learned that hate accomplishes nothing.
So I leave UH with the satisfaction of knowing that before I react to an issue, I will think.
The ability to think is what sets us apart from other animals, and we need to not only realize that talent, but to take advantage of it.
I also walk away from this campus with a certain sense of dissatisfaction because UH is in such a fractious state.
But, on the other hand, I thank God there's a place like UH. Without it, I wouldn't have attended college -- frankly, I'm poor.
If I ever have enough money to donate, it will go directly to the university, because no matter how much you or I have complained about our UH experience, this school unquestionably provides an invaluable service to deprived students.
In closing, thank you for tolerating my incessant rambling the last few years. Thank you for shaping my life.
I will forever hail to thee, my dear old varsity.
Peöa is a senior RTV major.