Rohit's Realm

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July 18, 2005

The End of the Beginning

January 4, 1988. Reagan was President, Gorbachev was General Secretary of the Communist Party, the stock market was recovering from Black Monday, and Michael Jackson's Bad was less than four months old. That very same day, in a small, nondescript town in southern Orange County known for its clean streets, wide roads, and cookie-cutter houses, a small boy just turned four, and relatively shy, emerged from comforts of his home to confront the world of academia—a world that would occupy his life for the next eighteen years to follow.

Fast-forward to the present day. July 18, 2005. Seventeen years, 199 days later, that very same boy, now a bit taller, and a lot less shy, stepped into a car in a city much different from the small Orange County town where it had all began, ready to leave the only world he had known, the world of academics, if only in the interim. For those of you who are especially idiotic, that small boy was me, and today, July 18, 2005, was my last day as a resident of the City of Berkeley and consequently, the official end of my undergraduate career at the University of California, Berkeley.

Now, I suppose that with this post I could venture into a nostalgic remembrance of the last eighteen years of purported education, reveling in the happy memories and excruciating disappointments of the various schools I have attended; but honestly, I can barely remember high school, let alone all that came before. Equally appropriate, I imagine, would be a verbal montage to my experiences in college: the people I met, the things I learned, and the fun I had. Once again, however, I must hold back; no amount of prose could ever adequately describe my college experience, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm the least qualified to even attempt it. Plus, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

What's the point of this entry, then, if not for meaningless rambling and describing what I won't be writing about? Well, I think that more than anything else, I simply wanted to acknowledge the end of an era. Whatever said and done, the minute you turn in your jeans and t-shirts for slacks and dress shirts, your life will never be the same. And as I am confronting this transition in less than a month, I found a need to recognize it. Granted, I am not going far—San Francisco is a mere 30 minute car ride away—and most likely, the people I see and the things I do probably will not change much. Even still, gone will be the time of irresponsibility and irreverence.

Some say you become an adult at 18 (including the government), perhaps because you can vote, or be drafted, or be sent to prison. Others say you are only an adult when you turn 21, since you can purchase alcohol and enter bars and clubs. Yet, neither of those was as poignant for me as today; none marked my transcendence into adult life as clearly. Voting and drinking do not make you an adult, but working full time, worrying about a 401(k), and being mystified by acronyms such as PPO and HMO sure as hell do.

So, is this really goodbye? Yes and no. To the University, yes. I mean, even when I return for football games, and even if I return for graduate school, I'll never be an undergraduate here again. So: thank you for all that I've learned and all that you've taught me. To the people I met and the times we shared, this is but the end of the beginning. Perhaps we will never again be united in one place with one purpose, but the memories of the past and the expectations of the future live on. Finally, to the ones nearest and dearest to my college experience, the illustrious Berkeley bums, it's definitely been unpleasant. I'll see you all in hell (and hopefully not a moment sooner)!

Berkeley—it's been real. Next time I see you, it'll be as a visitor. Don't forget to write. KIT! HAGS! Yours always, Rohit.


It's a bit weird for me too since I closed my Berkeley chapter in June 2004 since I was never expecting to stay in Denmark for a year. Time to move on ...

And on a sidenote. I saw my first sighting of a flipped up collar two weeks ago in Orange County. My friend who went to Duke said that was all the rage on the East Coast since he started there. First fad that I can recall infiltrating the West from the East.

The grass is greener on the other side.

There are times I wish I were an undergrad again, and then I snap back into reality.

I'm probably somewhere between Rohit and Jen. Yes, school was quite an adventure; no, I do not want to ride again any time soon.

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