Slow down and enjoy your time at UTEP


Julia Lucero, Contributor

I do not think that I have had to make a goodbye as hard as this one.

I will be leaving UTEP and moving on to the next part of my life.

UTEP has become my home. From working at the Union, working for The Prospector, meeting new people in my classes, and having amazing professors, I do not think that I have had a school experience as great as this one. In fact, nothing comes close.

I did not have the best high school experience. I did not make meaningful connections with people or felt that I belonged at my high school. To tell the truth, I did not attend my graduation because it did not mean anything to me. UTEP is the only place where I genuinely felt that I belonged somewhere. I felt that I had found “my people” and “my tribe.” People with whom I could be my authentic self. People who wanted the best for me and brought it out of me as well. It is bittersweet, but it is nice to think of it as a place that is worth missing.

I could go on and say UTEP was filled with so many memories and I am going to miss that . But the main thing I want to stress in this farewell letter is: undergrads, slow down. I too wanted nothing more than to rush out of here and “get it over with.” Well, that is what I thought I wanted. Yet, here I am staring at my cap and gown in the corner of my closet wishing it was not mine. Of course, I am proud of myself for coming this far and obtaining my degree. It is awesome! But I also wish I had taken the time to enjoy the little moments, the big moments, the frustrating ones, the “That is it, I’m dropping out!” moments. I will never get those back. I will never be a college kid anymore.

So, to all my underclassmen, please enjoy being a student. There are going to be times where you want to give up. When you miss your 8a.m class and you are angry at yourself for it or you are up all night studying and wish you could go to bed. Enjoy those times, do not let it engulf you. Enjoy the things you hate about college and the moments you adore. The best way I could describe this feeling to you is through a song called, “You are gonna miss this” by Trace Adkins. The song is about living in the moment. Stressing to not rush anything in life because you are too busy waiting for the future, you forget you are living in a time that you are going to look back at and miss.

I really wish that I had known. I wish that I had taken a step back during the chaotic late nights writing, attending different events, hanging out in The Prospector and Union offices, and just allowed myself to look around. To capture the moment, to really be there. I wish that someone had taken me by the shoulders and said “Stop! Stop worrying about the future and just be here. There was a time where you couldn’t wait to be in college and have the experiences you are living through now. Enjoy them, before they’re gone.” So here is my rattle on the shoulders to you: Snap out of it. Before you are walking across that stage and it is too late.

I find myself leaving behind some of the best moments of my life.

To The Prospector, I do not think that a simple “thank you” can hold the weight of my gratitude, but I will try it anyway. Thank you Tracy, Veronica, and Anahy for taking a chance on a girl who had never written for a newspaper before. Thank you to all the Prospector goofballs, Albert, Emily, Itzel, Kristen, Victoria, Annabella, Hugo, and everyone else for listening to my life stories and sharing your own. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to take my career to the next level. I could not have done it without you all.

Thank you to Union Services. Ofelia, Edgar, and Cynthia for also taking a chance on me and being the reason I was able to have met my most valued friends. You all took the time to make us better students and workers. No one does it like you all. Thank you to my professors for showing me what it means to have educators that truly care about their students. Thank you, Professor Gannon and Professor Kocherga for reading, editing, and critiquing some of my most terrible stories and being able to teach me what it means to be a journalist. You both went above and beyond for your students and for that, I am eternally grateful. UTEP, thank you for everything. I’m going to miss you and farewell.

Julia Lucero is a guest contributor and may be reached at [email protected]