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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Second choice turned out to be right choice

More than four years ago, when I was looking at colleges to apply to, I couldn’t stand the idea of attending school in Arizona.  Having been born and raised in suburban Phoenix, I was tired of the hot summers, not-so cold winters and ugly brown landscapes.  I needed an escape and was obsessed with the idea of living on the East coast.  However, when my top choices didn’t give me the scholarship money I had hoped for (no way could I have paid $50,000 a year), I came to live with the idea of going to school in state.  

In the end, I couldn’t have made a better choice and am proud to be graduating from the UA.  There really is no better man-made place in the state of Arizona.  

Over these past four years, I can say I have received a great education.  Not many people can say they have learned about international law from the former foreign minister of Finland, the Arab/Israeli conflict from the former U.S. Ambassador to Oman or about national security policy from a retired professor from the Army War College.  While the UA doesn’t exactly rank at the top (or middle) of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, it’s a place where someone hungry for knowledge has the ability to thrive.  

Thanks to the UA, I now have a greater appreciation for the state and have fallen in love with a region I previously knew very little about. Before going to school here, I never understood how beautiful Southern Arizona really is, with its vast valleys, towering Sky Islands and rolling hills.  I highly recommend that each of you take the time to drive up Mt. Lemmon, hike Sabino Canyon, walk through the Mission San Xavier del Bac and explore the many fascinating towns located along the U.S./Mexico Border.  Parties are an essential part of college life, but you will truly be missing out if you don’t do at least one of these things before you leave.

I will really miss the UA, as it’s not just a school, but a place I have called home for the past four years.  I will miss the gorgeous campus and walking past Old Main, Engineering building and the Arizona State Museum (did you know that used to be the library?), or people-watching near the turtle pond.

Being an Arizona Wildcat is something that sticks with you for life.  I will never watch March Madness or college football the same again, and I will always wear red on game days.  While the size of the student body and relatively low admission standards can be a bit frustrating, the UA is truly a great place.  My only wish is that each of you have as great of an experience as I have over the past four years.  Bear down.


— Andrew Shepherd is a political science senior. He can be reached at

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