As our time at Cal Poly winds down, give yourself a pat on the back, seniors. You did it — or 40 percent of you did, according to Cal Poly’s four-year graduation rate.
But for those 40 percent of you, you’re here! It’s almost over.
Now it’s time to look back on all our memories from these past four years in college. Remember the Harlem Shake video in the University Union Plaza that went viral online?
One of your finest moments, Cal Poly.
We were dropped off in front of the residence halls, met our roommates and were told over and over about something called “Learn By Doing” — this was college.
The San Francisco Giants won the World Series just days after Cal Poly beat UC Santa Barbara in soccer, reinforcing the idea that sleeping at college was something that just doesn’t happen.
On the web, “Double Rainbow” and “Hide Your Kids Hide Your Wife” somehow kept us entertained through the entire year (which was fine, because anything was better than the high school sensation “Friday”).
We tried to watch Charlie Sheen as he boarded the crazy train, but Secure Mustang Wireless kept freezing YouTube right before his punch lines.
Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong started at Cal Poly in February 2011, long before any of us cared about Student Success Fees or semesters. Some of us are still confused about who that well-dressed man talking to us in the Starbucks line is.
Across the pond, Kate Middleton married into the royal family. The late-night wedding stateside meant we had to stay up to watch it. It also meant resident advisers finally had a program they knew people would come to: Popcorn and Princesses.
The year wrapped up with the announcement that a Navy SEAL team had killed Osama Bin Laden, and students at politically active campuses across the country took to the streets in celebration. Meanwhile, we continued to study for midterms.
When we returned to campus from summer, we learned that women’s volleyball coach Jon Stevenson had been fired by new Athletics Director Don Oberhelman. An internal Cal Poly report detailed several instances of alleged misconduct by Stevenson, including inappropriate hugging and kissing of volleyball players.
Stevenson died in 2012 from an accidental drug overdose.
As the year moved forward, so did the Occupy Wall Street movement growing in Zuccotti Park in New York City. The protests spread across the country, even inspiring a few people to set up tents in an Occupy SLO movement.
Down the road from Occupy SLO, two San Luis Obispo High School students belted out their lives’ trials and tribulations on “Hot Problems,” the viral video that made our ears nearly bleed. It’s debatable if this was a larger problem to society than Rebecca Black.
Legendary Apple CEO Steve Jobs died our sophomore year. Watching his Stanford commencement speech, we all briefly considered dropping out of school and doing something crazy, like starting an Internet provider that could bring Wi-Fi coverage to an entire college campus.
Talk began of the Student Success Fee in November, and by the middle of the year, it was on the forefront of our minds. Paying just to have “success” didn’t sound like the most compelling reason for a new fee, but administrators drilled into our heads the very real financial problems Cal Poly was facing. The fee eventually passed in a narrow advisory vote and the Cal State University (CSU) system approved it for our campus in March.
As talk settled down over the Student Success Fee, Armstrong brought forward an even more controversial plan to Cal Poly: switching to semesters. Months of research and student opinion surveys pointed the campus firmly in the direction of staying on quarters, but the CSU’s all-knowing wisdom said we should start switching “by the end of the decade.” No updates yet on what that means.
Far more inspiring than watching administrators duke it out through the CSU’s bureaucracy was the Red Bull Stratos leap — otherwise known as “watch a crazy Australian jump from space and hope he doesn’t go splat.” Fortunately, he landed safe on the ground and all us non-physics students wondered what the hell just happened.
Obama secured his re-election in fall, and we all learned about “binders full of women” and “horses and bayonets.”
In the same election, Proposition 30 passed, bringing more money to Cal Poly. Between that and the Student Success Fee, we thought there might be some leftover cash to improve Secure Mustang Wireless.
A strange site started popping up on our Facebook news feeds, filled with GIFs, lists and cat videos. Buzzfeed had won the Internet, and our Steve Jobs-esque company would never be as successful. Oh, well. Good thing we stayed in school.
We came back to school barely a month after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively knocked down Proposition 8, bringing gay marriage to California. But within weeks, a different diversity issue at Cal Poly would take the stage.
“Colonial Bros and Nava-hos” was the alleged theme of a fraternity party off campus that drew national attention to Cal Poly for its insensitivity toward Native Americans and women. Greeks kind-of-sort-of apologized, free speech advocates criticized Cal Poly for its response to the party and the investigation was eventually dropped.
The annual UC Santa Barbara soccer game gave us one final hoorah with a nail-biting … draw … but it was OK, because other sports were exciting this year.
Baseball held its first-ever regional tournament at Cal Poly after a monumental season where they were ranked as high as No. 1 in the country and won the Big West championship for the first time in school history.
Men’s basketball made it to the Big Dance, and we held out the tiniest bit of hope Cal Poly would win a national championship. The Mustangs won a tournament game in Dayton, Ohio before running into the juggernaut that was Wichita State on national television. Or, if you were on Secure Mustang Wireless, you saw the CBS loading screen for two and a half hours.
Just in time to stop us from having fun, Cal Poly administrators and the mayor tried to shut down pre-graduation drinking. We were like, “OMG” and the bars were like, “LOL, nope.”
Then, as us and our peers at UC Santa Barbara were starting to get excited for graduation, the unthinkable struck way too close to home. A gunman in Isla Vista tore into the college town one Friday night, killing six and wounding several others before taking his own life. In a moment of solidarity between rivals, some of us wore blue and gold to school and others came to an on-campus livestream of UCSB’s memorial for its students.
And here we are, ready to graduate. Beyond these events, we’ve had plenty of our own stories to tell from our time at Cal Poly.
And there will be plenty more to bring back with us for our visits — as alumni.