For four years, I have sat down in classrooms and attended lectures and participated in discussions. I have read countless assignments and skimmed through even more of them. I’ve written some of my best stories and I’ve also submitted some of the worst essays I’ve ever seen.
And today, I submitted the very last assignment of my undergraduate career. This Thursday I will put on my graduation regalia and I will across a stage as my name and program are called. I will turn my tassel. I will throw my cap in the air. I will officially be done.
But this is not the end of a million memories that I wish I could tell you all about. I want to spend at least an hour reminiscing on my time in my sorority, and how I willingly let students throw whipped cream in my face and the smell stayed in my hair for days. Or tell you how I stayed up until 4 am making bid day letters and about the time I took my first little and almost cried as she accidentally walked past where I was standing. I want to go on even longer about how I changed my major six times, before ultimately deciding that I wanted to focus on Creative Writing and put all of my eggs in one basket that has changed my whole life. I could actually talk for days about my job with the Admissions Office, where I learned what it meant to be a good friend and a good supervisor and how to know when one was more important than the other. I could talk about my mentor, and those that I mentored. I have a thousand memories of phone calls with prospective students where I convinced them to apply to Mason or calls I received where I got to rejoice with students as they found out that they were accepted. If in one (dreadful, but also wonderful) day, I answered over 200 phone calls alone, how can I ever count the number of lives that I helped change in four years?
It was only four years, but I know that everything I accomplished will span for much longer than that. The friendships I made, the sisterhood I helped colonize, and the students that worked with me and critiqued and praised my writing have all been absolutely instrumental in my undergraduate career. And now that I’m about to graduate, who knows what I, and the rest of the Class of 2017, will do with the next four years? And the forty that follow after that? If we can do accomplish all that we have already, whose to say we can’t change the world with the next forty years ahead? I know I’m ready to.
So, I’ll end this with a few pieces of advice for those of you still waiting to finish your degree: no matter how long it takes, no matter how many obstacles are in your way – this is your journey. Make the most of it. You only get out of college what you put into it, so don’t let fear stand in your way of making the changes you feel are necessary. Reach out to your professors and make sure they know your name. You will be grateful when your world crumbles around you and they believe you actually need that extension you asked for. And lastly, when you need to (and you will definitely need to sometimes) – put yourself first.
Congratulations, Class of 2017!
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