Musings

Who Would Have Thought? An Ode to College Graduation

This is going to sounds so silly, but I feel ‘so college’ right now, as I’m writing this ‘end-of-my-college-career’ blog post outside of my sorority suite, laying on the grass enjoying a beautiful sunny day. I think you know what I mean when I say ‘so college’ – it’s one of those moments that almost seems out of a movie, like grabbing lunch with a professor outside of class or skipping class to go have a margarita at Mad Mex. But right now, this ‘so college’ moment involves me trying to grasp the fact that college doesn’t last for ever. 

I often thought about writing a post where I reflect on my senior year. I thought about what “profound” piece of advice I was going to share with those who have not finished college yet. Still, I have not found this one great piece of advice I can give, but I do have some…

A tried and true piece of advice: get involved and stay involved. You will meet so many incredible people. Study abroad if you can, it will open your eyes to the world. Going abroad with my best friend was probably the incredible and most terrifying experience of our lives (right Sam?). Work hard, and play hard (I’m a big proponent of both). Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Soak in every moment. If you’re a Penn Stater: there’s nothing like going to your first Penn State football game – tailgating, followed by the excitement of walking into the stadium for the first time and hearing the roar of the crowd, cheering your school on. Or your first THON, which is truly indescribable. No one really experiences these moments by themselves; shared experiences is what college is about.

But I suppose the best piece of advice I’ve learned is to do things that will make you happy. The freedom and the opportunities in college are few and far between, and happiness should be on the top of your priorities. 

There were the little moments in college that while small, I’ll remember forever. Like running around campus looking for Beyoncé when a Jay-Z concert was in town (we never found her). My sorority sisters telling me that the winner of the Homecoming Talent Show would win Lady Gaga concert tickets (it was a lie, and I cried, but it was all in good fun). And then there were the big moments. Becoming involved with THON as both a committee member and a captain. Receiving a bid from Delta Gamma, not knowing what to expect from being in a sorority, later learning what sisterhood actually means. My sisters are my drivers in life, and my biggest champions. Not being surrounded by them will be difficult. 

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You’ll meet thousands of people, and you will never forget them. When you meet a sassy girl named Tia, you will immediately want to become her friend and you will share a teary night in a dorm hallway. You’ll meet another girl named Rebecca the same day, when you find out that your ex-boyfriend’s cousins live in the same town as her (I still don’t know how to pronounce Avon, Becks). You will travel to England with a girl named Sam, and together will have an unforgettable summer. The Fall ’10 AND Spring ’11 GroupMe will provide you with endless hours of laughter. You will receive a call one night and you will have the amazing opportunity to help kids fight cancer by becoming a THON captain. You will loose one of your friends your senior year to the same disease you want to wipe out and eradicate, and you will finally understand the meaning behind THON. You’ll meet the FENIgizer Bunnies, Just McKeep Swimming, Dazed and COMMfused, and COMM in like a Wrecking Ball. You’ll never forget any of them.

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Around this time, us seniors begin to think about everything we haven’t done yet, or things we still need to do so we can cross it off our senior bucket list and officially declare ourselves free of accomplishing tasks every graduate needs to do. But we also need to think about the things we have done, the memories we’ve made, and the friendships we’ve formed. Everyone who has entered my life here at Penn State has had an effect on me somehow, whether big or small. I can’t say yet if college has been the best four years of my life, as I still haven’t experienced a majority of my life, but I know that anything after this will face stiff competition. Four years ago, I didn’t think much of what has happened to me in college would have happened to me, but it did. I was terrified, and now I don’t want to leave. I came into college scared, confused, ended up transferring to Penn State, and somehow it all worked out. Again, I find myself in a very apprehensive point in my life, but I’m going to take this previous lesson I learned and apply it now, even though I don’t know what the future holds for me, it’s going to be just fine. Because who knows what could happen in the next four years?

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My mom recently wrote me a letter, in which she said, “4 years ago, who would have thought you would be graduating from Penn State and would be a sorority sister?”. I certainly did not think that, but when I re-read that sentence, I really thought about that statement. Honestly, I really never thought that my college experience would be the most incredible event of my life, especially with the way it began. The start to my college career was rocky; I transferred schools, which was an extremely difficult event for me, and I really struggled getting acclimated to college. I was constantly anxious, nervous, sad and lonely. I wish future me could tell freshman me that everything was going to be just fine, and that things always have a way of working themselves out. But then again, I don’t wish I could go back in time and tell myself that things were going to be OK, because surprises are one of the greatest beauties in life. It’s funny how things never truly work how the way we think or plan that will. 

This post is definitely a mash-up of different emotions and memories, and I don’t know if I did a great job encapsulating it all. But before I end it, I’ll share my final piece of advice: don’t forget to say thank you. Thank you to my parents, my friends, my roommates, my sisters, my professors, and anyone else who has shown me the true meaning of friendship and support these past few years. Thank you so, so much.

Congrats Class of 2014, we did it!

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