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Labor Day weekend has come and gone, and to me that usually means the start of the college fall semester, as the first Wednesday after Labor Day was when my college, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, would start the fall semester.

Looking at Waldorf University just a block away from the Summit-Tribune office, at all the fresh-faced (and tired-looking) college students milling about the Forest City area, I’m constantly reminded of when I was in college, which wasn’t too long ago.

In fact, just one year ago I was starting my final semester in college. It was my seventh semester (so I was only in college for 3.5 years), and I was determined to be relaxed about it while still working my buns off to make sure I graduated with high grades and hopefully a job in tow.

Believe it or not, I was not the most social student. Yes, I went to a party my first year, but it was a Party.0, which means absolutely no alcohol allowed. There was music in the basement of the house the party was held at, but the ceilings were so low and I was wearing some high heels I couldn’t do as much dancing as I wanted to, so instead I spent the majority of the time playing spoons in the kitchen with several people while my two friends danced downstairs. Then people tried to get into the party toting six-packs of beer, and the party organizer had to call the cops on them to get them to leave. That was the highlight of the night.

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I remember being in my dorm room in Fletcher Hall (which was nicknamed the “Flaming Fletch” because some pyromaniac kept setting chairs on fire in the basement) and hearing a drunk boy at 3 a.m. yelling just outside my door at the girls who live in the dorm across the hall, “She’s just so mean to me!” like a baby. He wouldn’t shut up, so I had to get out of bed to tell him and his friends to shut up because some people were trying to get some sleep, which they apologized for but called me an unkind name once my door was closed.

But I also remember meeting my two best friends and a handful of other friends. College was also when I discovered my love of quilting and my desire to be an editor. It was when I connected with professionals, professors and students in professional and casual ways.

I can’t say how rewarding the experience was for me because it’s something I will always carry with me. From volunteering for the Hands on Oshkosh events, to being a part of the campus newspaper, to schlepping it out on the couch with my best friends and roommates, college has changed my life for the better.

And to all the college students here in Forest City, from first years to fifth years, I hope your time at Waldorf University is just as rewarding.

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