My Time at Pitt

Today is a rough day. I went to the dentist first thing in the morning….always a lovely way to start the day. At one o’clock I have to deliver a speech, fresh off the press. Big paper is due at 6:00pm, I look forward to finishing that later… seems that closing Hillman Library for the past few nights didn’t quite do the trick. Unfortunately, I’ll have to skip out early of that class to attend my Pennsylvania state EMT practical exam. That will take the rest of the night….at least, long enough to make me miss the last outdoors club meeting I would have been an officer for. Ok, kinda sappy but cut me a break, the POC has meant a lot to me for the past four years. I’ll be at the bar, though, at 10pm…singing karaoke and frolicking as the day from hell comes to a dim and smoky close.
I didn’t really intent to write that much, but oh well. I actually just wanted to post a copy of my speech here…it’s loaded with a bit of BS here and there and comes off as much more cynical that I actually am, but on the whole should be somewhat entertaining.

Commemmorative Speech – My Time at Pitt

I didn’t really want to come to Pitt. I wanted a small school, off in the woods…but I visited, took the tour, sent in my application. My entire family of Pitt alums could not have been that far off, right?

So as acceptance and denials rolled in, I learned my first lesson in economics: an entire education at Pitt would cost me less than a semester or two at a private university. So I packed up and moved to the ‘burgh, ready for the best four years of my life.

Well, life has been interesting since. I nestled into my little wedge of Tower B and fought a losing battle against the tide of my roommate’s mess for two semesters. There was never a dull moment though….simply open the door late at night and you are guaranteed to witness some tragedy, mental breakdown, or at least a drunk kid passed out in the bathroom.

It didn’t take long to lose my appreciation for the cafeterias….eating waffles and bad pizza for a year gets old really fast. Not to mention dealing with the consequences of caf food later! During sophomore and junior years my friends and I lived in the honors housing….complete with a kitchen, living room, and stimulating social interaction. Do me a favor everyone, and call to mind the scene in The Matrix where Neo visits the oracle, and in the waiting room those bald kids are bending spoons with their minds? Exactly as I remember it.

The move to off-campus housing was a big step….finally out from under the University! It could have been so nice, except that I moved to South Oakland. Deep south Oakland. Oh, it’s still interesting….where else can you get your car totaled in the parking lot, discover that you have “pets” in your apartment, and see someone break a chair over some dude in a street fight…..all in the span of a few hours? Yes, my experiences with housing here at Pitt have been great!

Over the last four years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve taken great classes in languages, politics, economics, public speaking….swimming. I’ve written papers on fascinating topics like “reform of the Chinese financial sector in the face of WTO accession.” Writing papers, cramming for exams, and reading text after boring text…..I know that these skills will help me greatly in my future career as climbing bum.

Perhaps the housing here isn’t great, and you can be pretty sure that you won’t be using that $80 cultural anthropology textbook ever again…but my experiences at Pitt have taught me some truly important lessons. In four years, I’ve learned to live independently. It’s taken this long, but now I have some idea how I want to live my life….even if I still don’t know what I’m going to be when I grow up. I know who my friends are, and that taking 20 shots in an hour is a really bad idea. What I’ve learned in the classroom is valuable, but what I’ve learned by simply being a Pitt student has prepared me for just about anything life has to offer.

So don’t worry if the dean won’t approve your 21 credit spring schedule, or if your life plan isn’t quite chiseled in stone yet. Travel, take a light course-load, spend time with your friends, and relax. Enjoy your time here, and perhaps you too will have fond memories of four years spent here, in Oakland.


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