The campus of the University of Wisconsin – Madison is once again full of young men and women who have arrived in the city to start the new school year. As students are moving in, my mind is taking me back to the years I spent at this university. Move-in days are bringing back memories.
I spent years on this campus, working to receive my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Affairs degrees. I succeeded in my pursuit and completed my days at the university with contentment in my heart.
As I watch the students arrive on campus and move into dorms, apartments, and houses, it gives me great joy. I am thrilled to see young people make their way towards this great institution of higher education, full of hope and enthusiasm.
Obtaining a university degree is a challenge. Gathering knowledge is an even greater challenge. The process of getting a university degree is only a part of the greater mission of gaining knowledge about the world we live in, discovering our strengths, recognizing our weaknesses, cultivating our talents, learning new skills, and understanding our role in this world and our place in this universe. Attending classes at an institution of higher education helps us move forward in our lifelong pursuit of knowledge.
Not everyone would view a university the way I do. In fact, as humans, we all have different expectations about life in colleges and universities. Some see the university as a place to have fun, socialize, and make new friends. Some view this as a place to get degrees and certificates that would eventually facilitate the accumulation of wealth and material luxuries. There are others who believe that university education helps us learn that there is a vast sea of knowledge that we must explore throughout our lives. This, of course, would result in a lifelong thirst for knowledge, and that is what would influence all actions. I believe I fall in this category.
When I watch students move in, I am reminded of my days on the campus – getting ready to leave the apartment to get to my class, walking on Langdon Street, climbing up Bascom Hill, borrowing books from Memorial Library and movies from Helen C. White Library, waiting to return home and have a nice meal prepared by my mother, getting ready for the midterm exams, studying all night, spending summer evenings on Memorial Union Terrace, tracking my grades, and planning my future. That is how precious moments of my life were spent, as a student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The fragments of time float in the sea of my mind.
When my days as a student at the university came to an end, my hunger for knowledge had reached a peak. It is on this peak that I still stand, looking as far as my eyes would allow.
As a new academic year begins, I wish all the students an enlightened future. May this be the start of a long journey of gaining knowledge. May this journey extend far beyond the boundaries of the university, and may each student make the best use of every moment of life in the pursuit of knowledge and truth.