Say No To Graduation.

Original article published in Elite Daily.

When you look back at it, weren’t those six years of college the best years of your life? Wait, six years?! What ever happened to the good old four years that rivaled your high school tenure? The answer to this question, and many others, can be found in the simple fact: no one is graduating in four years anymore.

That is a pretty bold statement. One that I am sure I can bore you with a multitude of facts and statistics with. The truth is we are about half and half on the whole ”graduating on time” nonsense. These baby boomers had no problem wrapping it up in four years, and they had wars! Why us?

For centuries, outside of a little old fable about some tortoise and some hare, taking your time hasn’t been viewed as effective as it actually is. This is the age of tablets, social media, and even some high speed Internet. We ARE high speed. No one truly has time to sit and think about their decisions and the repercussions that they yield. It is all about the now, and the later will be dealt with when it becomes the now, while the now becomes the forgotten.

grad school

Theories and prose aside, this all goes out the window the moment the world ”college” or ”university” comes into view. And it isn’t even hard to see why. As a 17 year old, all I remember about the college experience was how much I was going to owe at the end of the ride.

This is the first big step for anyone to a very strings attached freedom. Your success is based on yourself in this setting. Don’t want to go to class? That’s fine. Want to party and sleep around your first few semesters? That’s cool. Spending hours upon hours holed up in a dilapidated campus library to study? Hey it’s your prerogative. But also, this is where the story splits.

With college comes responsibility. But, it also has those strings that I mentioned above. This isn’t the booming economy any of us vaguely remember as we grasped at Fruit Rollups and went on abundant vacations in. This is the theorized wasteland of Keynes, where Big Business has turned the job market into a desert, with no oasis in sight.

Maybe, this is an escape for us. The one last road stop that has decent food, a warm bed, and a self-sustained economy where no one is really rich, and no one is exceptionally poor. It’s not fun out there, and what’s wrong with spending a couple of more years roaming the vestibules hoping to find the ”sure thing” that’s next? Nothing.

We could also be becoming smarter, looking at our options and hoping to jump into the best situation granted for us. Instead of figuring out that mercurial major during your second year, there is no harm in trying one out for two years, finally setting on your one true career choice. This could easily lead to less nine to five cul-de-sac’s of unstimulating activity. Sometimes it is easier to plan a roadmap of where to go, rather than head out naked into the untested tundra of tomorrow.

Whatever the reason may be, higher education is changing. The settled foundations of what our families, society and we, as a whole, have known, will never be what it was. And that is OK. Whether it’s fear, courage, stupidity or a Long Island iced tea mix of the three, maybe four years to figure out your life just doesn’t cut it anymore. Time to move past the myth, and get comfortable with the reality.

Ali Abouomar | Elite.

Pieces Of A Collage.

Original article written by me for The Boston Globe.

When I think of college I feel they misspelled the name of this experience and that it was originally meant to be called Collage. For the average student, college is a compilation of experiences, emotions and relationships that will define both your future as well as help shape who you are as a person.

I am from Caracas, Venezuela but I decided to come to school in Boston because I wanted to learn how to write in English. Mission accomplished, I guess. But I never expected the huge cultural shock that going to a school like Emerson College would represent for me.

Coming from a conservative Latin-American background, I wasn’t necessarily prepared for how liberal and open-minded the people at an American school are. But after four years I’ve come to realize that if I’d have gone to a school with people more like the old me, I would have never seized the opportunity to pursue my passions the way I did at Emerson.

The thing about going to such a trade-specific school is that you’re constantly surrounded by the most talented people you will ever meet. Not only that, but their drive and passion is comparable to none. Emersonians take their college experience way beyond the classroom by getting involved in extra-curricular activities that allow them to express their talents and creativity in every possible way.

This is something I didn’t come to understand until my senior year, when I realized that my resume was way superior to the resumes of students from other schools, because of the amount of extra-curricular opportunities the school provided me with, and how much encouragement I received from both my professors and classmates.

Since Emerson is such a small school, you end up taking classes with the same people throughout your entire college career. And as cliché as it sounds, you do develop a family feeling towards them. At Emerson, you are not trained to believe that your classmates are you competition but your partners-in-success.

It would be too easy to say that everything about college is wonderful and that these years are all fun and happiness, but that is far from the truth. College is a really existential period in our lives, and the amount of bad things that happen to you are probably equal to the amount of good things. I mean, how many of us found ourselves in a situation that seemed like the end of the world, only to later realize that it really wasn’t such a big deal?

These realizations however, only come to you when you look at you college experience in retrospect. Looking back, everything that happens to you in college is like a little piece of a collage. But you only get to assemble this collage once you are through with your four years, and put together all of the pieces you have been handed. You then realize that every piece of the collage has a spot where it fits perfectly to form the picture you are left with.

Adriana Herdan is a graduating senior at Emerson College. Her major is journalism and after graduation she plans to move to New York to pursue a career in fashion journalism.

Your voice was the soundtrack of my summer

3 songs that defined my college years:

Freshman year- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-Z3YrHJ1sU

Sophomore year- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWUC5Q0RCAA

Junior year- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-x6ijqgIBo

* The reason why people hold on to memories so tight, is because memories are the only thing that wont change when everything else does.