As I embark on the long journey of life after college, I believe the time is right to reflect back on my college experience and offer a little advice to those that remain in their undergraduate careers. I came to Illinois College to study Japanese and history, which I continue to do so to this very day. I made good friends during my freshman year that I spent time with by going on long walks around Jacksonville with the Japanese students to the various parks around the area. In my sophomore year, I lost some friends due to them going back to Japan. All was not lost because I still had two of my good friends to spend time with.
I watched movies with them in their room in Greene or went on trips into downtown Jacksonville. I remember one time where we went to the release day of Dark Souls 2 late at night where one of them received a huge statue of a figure from the game. I soon had to part ways with them as the next year I went to Japan to fulfill my study abroad requirement. The experience changed my life by exposing me to a new culture and international students. I met people from around the globe in conjunction with the Japanese students. Czech politics, American media, and living in the countryside of America are just some of the numerous topics I discussed with the international students.
As a result, I expanded my ways of thinking. I also explored the beautiful city of Kyoto by becoming capable of navigating a new world by wandering down its labyrinthine streets. One time I was strolling down a street and I discovered a bar filled with Japanese businessmen drinking and enjoying the nighttime darkness lit only by lights within the bar and the neon sign outside. I remember another time where I found a small shrine nestled within a group of buildings while out biking.
My advice to the ones still pursuing the bachelor’s degree is simple: read as much as you can and cling onto good friends. Whether the material is within your discipline or outside it, you should read in order to improve your writing and analytical skills. I know I sound like a tired school administrator admonishing you for the umpteenth time, but reading does help writing skills. Find a subject that you are passionate about and research the materials; then, read those materials to gain a deeper insight into the subject.
My next piece of advice is to treasure your friends, especially good friends. I know it is hard to spend time with them as you are coping with work and school, but they may only be around during this period of your life. Realistically, you may never see them again after graduation. So, try to spend as much time with them as you can before it is too late. Jobs, money, work comes and goes; yet good friends are hard to find and harder still to keep.
Kyle Cody, from Sullivan, Illinois, is a senior majoring in history and Japanese. Kyle has recently been abroad for a year in Japan and has since returned to writing for the Rambler.