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Monday, April 24, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 139

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Take time to swim in Cullen fountain

Rohith Nandagiri

There has always been something special about this time of year. Since I was a little boy, springtime meant extra sunshine, better weather and summer break right around the corner. 

But for some, this time of the year is even more special with the anticipation of graduation. After all, we have been working toward this goal for the past four years and before that for the past 12 years of elementary, junior high and high school. 

As the years have passed, there have been many ups and downs. As with anything, college requires patience and perseverance. Some semesters you're up, and some you're down. Through everything, you grow.

I told someone once that my favorite song was the Toys R' Us theme song. The one that goes, "I don't wanna grow up, because if I did I couldn't be a Toys R' Us kid." Needless to say, that has changed. It was as if I graduated from baby food to caviar in a matter of four years. 

I started UH in 1996. During the first semester I was clueless. I had my first class in the Social Work Building: It was Finite Math. The first day of class, we got a syllabus and I thought it would be a breeze. Since then, I have met a bunch of people who, before college, I would never have met. In high school, I was this conservative kid with a bad haircut. I was sitting next to many different races, people with views on opposite ends of the spectrum from me and I had to work with these people if I intended to graduate. Now, I consider myself a pretty open-minded person who still has a bad haircut.

That is the thing about UH that no other college can match. The diversity on this campus makes the real world that much easier. You deal with staunch opinions every day, and you have to maintain your composure and listen very intently. You cannot simulate that in any training seminar, and you cannot create that unless it is inherently there around you. 

Now graduation is upon me and many of my friends. We will soon be UH alumni. Something I, for one, am very proud of. We join the ranks of people like Dan Rather, Kathy Whitmire, Dennis and Randy Quaid and John Moores. I have my alumni sticker and I am waiting for the day I graduate to put it on my car. 

Many younger people have asked me what I gained the most from my time at UH. I say, miles on my car from the long drive. But in all honesty, I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot -- possibly more than if I had gone to UT or another school where I would not have had to put up with big city life. You gain something when you are constantly around professionals. 

So now, I will head off into the working world, and work next to very much the same people I have been working next to for the past three years in the various jobs I have held. As a computer nerd ... err person, the time is excellent for us. Nevertheless, for some, graduation is not as joyous as it is for others. You end up more confused than you were in that third week of organic chemistry. People with science majors who hoped to go to medical school are sitting and waiting for letters. 

It is at times very stressful for me to be graduating. For the past four years I knew what I would be doing next semester. But now, I'm expected to just sit and wait for something to happen. The people who take the future into their own hands are the ones who will be satisfied. 

With the commencement ceremony rapidly approaching, it is now more important than ever to "stop and smell the roses" or swim in the pool next to the Ezekiel Cullen building in the middle of the night. But more than anything, it is time to reflect on the time you spent at this place. All the times you played arcade games at the UC instead of studying. All the time you spent talking to your friends in the PGH building breezeway drinking coffee. And all those times you spent looking for a parking space next to the stadium. Ah, the memories... 

Nandagiri, who would like to hear graduating seniors' memories for a future column, can be reached at nandagiri@hotmail.com.

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