Thanks for the experience: A goodbye to UCCS

May 7, 2012

Cherise Fantus
cfantus@uccs.edu

Well, UCCS, it’s time for me to say goodbye. It’s nothing new for me; I’ve said plenty of goodbyes in my 27 years.

I said goodbye to my family and North Dakota when I graduated from high school and joined the Army in 2003. I said goodbye to my husband five times as he left for deployments. I said goodbye to my friends and the Army when I left Georgia and came to UCCS in 2009.

Now it’s time for me to say goodbye to the friends and family I’ve made here as I say goodbye to UCCS and Colorado.

I have to say, UCCS was not my first choice when looking at colleges as I was preparing to leave the Army. I wanted to pursue a degree in journalism, but my husband got stationed at Fort Carson, so I chose to become an English major at UCCS, instead.

When I started, I took the “commuter student” thing to heart. I came to class, and that’s the only thing I did on campus. I didn’t live in the dorms, and I was quite a bit older than everyone else I met in my classes, so I didn’t bother to try to make friends with them.

That was probably one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my college career. The UCCS campus – and any college campus, for that matter – is packed full of clubs, organizations and activities that provide knowledge and experience that can’t be gained in the classroom alone.

Eventually, I joined the staff of The Scribe and learned that firsthand. You see, I didn’t even realize that I was missing out until I ceased to be missing out.

When I began interacting with the other students I worked with on staff, I realized the age gap wasn’t as large as I had previously thought. They became my friends, and even more, they became my family. I had found the group of people that shared all of my interests.

On top of that, I got to know the campus, and it became my home.

Now, I get to walk into the UC each morning to a friendly greeting from Nan at the Information Desk. Each time I walk past the ROAR office, I get a wave and a hello from Brittany and Nancy (a very loud hello from Brittany).

I go to Clyde’s and chat with Jen while I wait for my lunch. When I go to get a cup of coffee, I wait with bated breath to see if I can get a smile from the guy who never smiles at Jazzman’s. And you know what? He does smile sometimes, and it’s a very nice smile.

I got to learn about campus activities and even participated in many of them. I got to know the members of many clubs and organizations. I got to feel like I was part of a community rather than just a visitor.

I was chosen to take the reins as Editor-in-Chief of The Scribe one year ago, and the experience has proven invaluable. A big part of my job has been to teach and train those under me. But what they probably didn’t realize is that, at the same time, they have been teaching and training me.

I learned that no matter how good each individual is at their job, working together as a solid team makes everyone’s job easier and makes the end product that much better. I learned that even when things are going very well, the support of that team makes the rough times seem easy.

I will definitely miss my Scribe family, but I know that the new EIC, Sara Horton, will take excellent care of them. I will rest easily knowing that everything is taken care of.

I will also miss my home at UCCS, but I know that it’s time to move on. I will use all I’ve learned – in the classroom and out – to build a career. I will find a new home in Washington, D.C. and will always keep UCCS in my heart.

The one thing I would like to leave you all with is this: Get involved on campus. Whether it is a club, an organization, a campus job or just participating in campus events, you will gain experience you can’t get anywhere else.

You might make unexpected friends, gain experience in your career field, or even discover a career interest you didn’t know you had.

There is a wealth of experience all over campus; just make sure you’re not missing out.