TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, April 21, 2004
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Explore your opportunities

Laura McFarland

I cannot count the number of times I have pulled an all-nighter.

I cannot count the number of times I have been late to class.

I cannot count the number of times I have… (enter your own phrase here).

Aside from the above mentioned all nighters and classes, not to mention HBO binges, late night visits to FrogBytes and the network being down (again), my memories of TCU are pretty unique to me. In fact, if I have learned one thing in college, it is that everyone’s experience is unique, no matter how similar they think they are to everyone else.

For me, these years have been at times wonderful, eye-opening, educational, exciting, weird, scary, stressful and painful. Some of the memories I wish I could banish and never think on again (yes, I did watch Glitter), and some I will treasure forever. Even though it is time to move on and figure out what the heck to do with the next 40 years, it is also a time to remember what the last four years at TCU have meant to me.

My longest-running involvement has been with the TCU Daily Skiff. I knew becoming a reporter was the career for me before I even entered college, but working for the Skiff gave me the practical knowledge necessary to get on the right path. It gave me a chance to explore the campus and meet many of the different students and staff that make up our inclusive little world.

More importantly, the Skiff was at times both the most emotionally draining and fulfilling experience that I had in college. After holding two editor positions and being a reporter, I worked myself hard enough to get burned out for a while, but not so much that it deterred me from continuing on my chosen career path.

The Skiff was a valuable part of my life, but the most rewarding experience in my time at TCU didn’t take place in Fort Worth. Both in the fall of 2002 and this semester, I crossed the Atlantic to study at the TCU London Centre, first as a student and now as an intern. I have been able to explore Europe, grow to love London and meet a host of people from all over the world, and I would recommend studying abroad to anyone as a fascinating way to see a different part of the world.

It sounds like the typical promotional brochure for studying abroad, but I have found that the brochure was telling the truth. I have learned almost as much about the United States from being away as from living there. Never before has uttering the phrase “I am an American” held so much meaning.

Just last weekend I was in a hostel in Belgium having a conversation with two Chinese men about McDonalds and how it is not representative of all American culture. One of the men also informed me that a Taco Bell is now open in Shanghai, and I had to assure him that it is also not representative of authentic Mexican food.

In less than three weeks I will fly home from Europe to walk across the stage, a purple blob in a sea of purple, and become the first member of my family to get a college diploma. It is a decidedly terrifying prospect to not know what is waiting for me after graduation, but it is also exhilarating to think of the possibilities that the future holds.

Laura McFarland is a senior news-editorial journalism and English major from Houston.

TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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