As I enter into my senior year of college, the trepidation of graduation has begun to set in. As a student ambassador, parents have asked me one major question, “ Did the University of Wyoming prepare you for life after college?” That is a question that I have pondered and even panicked over; however, after looking at the person I was when I entered the university versus the one I am today, I can confidently answer yes.
One lesson that has been cemented into my brain over these four years is the absolute necessity of a solid community. Moving away from my family meant that I was losing a support system that I had grown accustomed to. Every challenge seemed daunting as I now had to face it alone, but I wasn’t actually alone. My freshman year, I was placed in a freshman interest group (FIG). I and my fellow students took classes together, we roomed together, and much of our time was spent together. That gave me comfort as we were all navigating this uncharted territory together. I made amazing friendships from this FIG that has carried me through the years. They are who I would turn to for help in my classes and just in my everyday life. As the years progressed, I added to that solid freshman community. Many of my professors, especially within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, were very approachable and willing to help. The boss of my research lab would start every meeting asking about our well-being. This all culminated in me seeing that while I may not know every life lesson I need upon graduation; I know that with a strong and supportive community I can overcome any obstacle or challenge.
The second aspect to this question is whether or not my education has prepared me on a solely academic basis. Again, the answer is yes. At times, prospective students try to look down on the university and insinuate that it is subpar in its teaching. This cannot be further from the truth. When I discuss concepts with friends attending other universities, I see no difference in the education we received. Their schools may have existed for longer or cost more, but that doesn’t matter. Once more, this goes back to the teachers. The university is blessed with phenomenal teachers that are so smart and insightful and willing to share all that they know with students. I hope to pursue a DVM degree following graduation. This is known to be a rigorous and challenging academic endeavor; however, the teaching that I have received makes me feel confident to tackle that challenge. I have been challenged by courses here, and that has made me a more critical thinker, a better studier, and gives me confidence that I can learn difficult concepts. I am not claiming that vet school would be a walk in the park – far from it – but I know that I am now equipped with the proper tools to survive.
The point of all of this is to say, don’t worry. Graduation is supposed to be a joyous event. You made it! The future is uncertain, yes, but that doesn’t have to be scary. For students looking ahead to that crossroads in life, do so with confidence in what you have learned. You do not have to have it all figured out right away, and you don’t have to do it alone. Rely on your community and on the knowledge you have gained and let’s show the world exactly why it needs more cowboys!