Pigs and Graduation

PigAs a writer I feel like I have some kind of obligation or expectation to write about the end of college and how it feels to know I am entering the real world.  That’s all good to think about and there is so much I could reflect on but all the piece would be filled with is clichés and generic ideas such as “I will never forget these past four years” or “there are so many people I want to thank” and of course the “I am going to miss all of my friends so much but I know we will still keep in touch!”.  Instead, I think what is more intriguing is to write about pigs.

I love pigs.  Many people know this about me but if you don’t, I absolutely love pigs.  I don’t care if they’re fat, if they’re lean, or if they’re rolling in their own filth.  Pigs are one of the smartest creatures on the planet with such unique personalities.  Once I began my journey in the animal science field, I discovered my love for pigs.

Delaware Valley College provided me the opportunity to watch piglets being born.  I was so close to witnessing such an event at my high school but I was literally minutes too late for the sow that was farrowing at the time.  I was so disappointed.  However, last semester gave me the gift of watching new lives being started.

We kind of live our lives like pigs.  I suppose one could use this analogy for any animal or living thing, but by God I am going to use pigs.  Once these incredibly small creatures enter the world they somehow have the natural instincts to find their mother’s teat and begin to nourish their bodies.  I find this unbelievable!  As soon as they break the umbilical cord, they lift themselves right up on to their feet and find their way to nourishment.  I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell was not capable of such a task when I was born.

When we start college, we begin as piglets.  We are thrown into this unknown world and are left to fend for ourselves.  The beginning may prove to be rough, but once we break free and learn the ways of where we are, everything falls into place.  We have the “small piglets” who may struggle and aspire to be as successful as their “littermates” and then we have the muscular, rugged ones who take on college head-on from the start.

Piglets are pretty tough little guys.  Let me tell you, they are poked and prodded by everything under the sun as soon as they are born.  Within the first several days of being alive, they receive several injections, their ears are notched for identification, their teeth are clipped so as to not harm their mother or other pigs, and some farmers even dock their tails.  Not to mention, most of the male piglets, well, you know, some of them just aren’t that lucky.  Despite everything that we humans do to these piglets, they bounce right back.  They are back in their pen and running around as if nothing happened.  Truly, it sounds like a lie, but they are tough.

Throughout college, we are thrown around and feel beaten up at times.  We might get a bad grade on a test, we could have fights with friends, we could suffer financially, and have our heart broken.  We could experience medical problems, we may have family issues, we miss our loved ones at home, and suffer confusion about 99% of the time as to what we want to do with our lives after we graduate.  But look at us now!  We are graduating.  We made it.  We survived the poking and prodding and are resilient!

Pigs live a pretty great life.  They have people to feed them, clean up after them, and know what to do if they are sick or injured.  No matter what, they always have someone to depend on.  An infection?  They are given antibiotics.  Feeders are empty?  Someone refills them.  One breaks out of its pen?  Someone is there to guide it back home.

Throughout college we always have someone there who cares.  Particularly at Delaware Valley College, the small size of the school truly allows for a more personable experience.  I have had numerous professors and staff who have been there for me when I didn’t know what to do.  Life was sending me in directions I couldn’t understand.  During my job hunt this semester there is one occasion that made me so thankful for the ability to have such a connection to faculty and staff at this school.  I had approached my professor, Dr. O’Connor, one day about how my job search was coming along and we discussed my interests and the types of jobs I was looking for.  As always, he gave me very helpful advice and I walked away from our conversation with another jolt of confidence that I could be successful.  Later that day, I received an e-mail from him with links to several job openings to at least seven different companies.  I sat back in my chair and couldn’t think of anything except how thankful I was to have such wonderful people in my life—especially a professor who had such a chaotic schedule to begin with and found the time to focus on one student to offer help for a future career.  I could write a novel of how many people have given me this special attention throughout my job search but they know who they are and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Eventually, piglets turn into full-grown pigs and live out their lives.  They are given the proper nutrition and environments to become what they are supposed to be.  As students, we are provided the tools and resources for who we will become.  After college, we will follow the path that is meant for us…much like pigs will follow their path…whether it is to be chosen to breed or end up on our dinner plates–a future and a path to follow nonetheless.

I am looking forward to where I will go in my future.  I wish all of my classmates and everyone who is graduating best of luck in all that you do.  And of course, don’t be afraid to root around in the mud and get a little dirty to find what you want.

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