The Cavalier Daily
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The years in perspective

THE FALL semester started out with the first anniversary of Sept. 11, accompanied by frighteningly low water reservoir levels. We were told to take three-minute showers while watering our plants and washing dirty dishes and mud-caked cars. This was, of course, followed by the harshest winter in recent history. Just as 30-foot piles of snow finally dried up after spring break, a war broke out -- one that fortunately didn't last too long. Then there was the economy that took its toll on everyone job searching and on the University. The racially motivated attack on the new Student Council president didn't help ease the tension around Grounds.

Amid all of this, we were fourth years. But perhaps the bumps in the road for our class have helped us learn college's lessons a little faster.

To wrap all of my not-so-insightful insights on college into one sentence: If you leave here thinking you know a lot about anything, you have a long way to go. Rather than instilling us with pride, college should in fact be a humbling experience. Every time we sit down to write a paper, we realize that 38 other people have written the same thing as us, but the difference is they actually know what they're talking about. There is entirely too much knowledge out there. Whether we have our bachelors or our masters or even our Ph.D., we haven't even scratched the surface. More importantly, the events this year should prove to us that our knowledge won't solve the world's problems. So, when we feel the urge to brag about our insanely oversized U.Va. degree, we should remember that the most important thing we can take away from college is how little we actually know.

And now, a special thanks to those who learned a little with me.

Secondary English crew, I wouldn't have made it through the program if it hadn't been for all of you. I have tremendous respect for all of you. We will continue to talk about our large units and subvert. We are troopers.

220s, thanks for being there for the firsts and the lasts. How did we get so lucky to have each other?

MattAx, today I give you happiness and job security. Or, if nothing else, a guarantee that there will be many TiVo days and more in the future.

Andrea, we've come a long way from the days of slimy popcorn; we've graduated to kettle. The two years in Tucker have been worth it. Look for letters to Burkina Faso -- I am proud of you.

Diya, thanks for helping me find my place despite the 130 people from our high school class here. I think, though, that place was somewhere between The Rock and Shark with Tupac and Mos Def in the background. Take them all to NYC.

Amber Rose, after 21 solid years from diapers to degrees, thank you for continuing to be the one person that gets me entirely. You are truly a sister and my best friend.

Dad, Mom, Shawn and Ashley -- from Austin to L.A. to Baltimore to the end of the Patent Office era and, of course, the addition of Mo and Protege number 2, things look a lot different in Annandale. I appreciate you always knowing I would go to college, and for supporting me even though I wasn't in the Comm School. I have two of the most self-sacrificing parents imaginable. Thank you is not enough.

I look back on college with no regrets, knowing that it was almost perfect while it lasted, but everything ends at the right time. I am ready to leave while I am still full of love for this place and these people. I look forward to student teaching back home and hearing about everyone's success. It's time to get started.

(Stephanie Batten was a 2000 associate life editor and a 2001 opinion editor.)

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