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The Old and the…Old: My “Halloweekend” Senior Day

Exactly three years ago, my new friends and I made a promise to each other. My new friend Fiona was told by my new friend Bubba that he had been Shrek the ogre the previous year. At more than six feet tall and shoulders as wide as a doorframe, he fit the character well. “Shrek and Fiona! We gotta do it!” he decided within two minutes of learning Fiona’s name. 

The group that was there to hear Bubba’s insistence never forgot it, and at the beginning of our senior year, my friend group decided we couldn’t let freshman-year Bubba down. Fiona got her costume ready, my five-foot self was told, not asked, to be Lord Farquaad, my other roommates got ears and a hat for Donkey and Puss in Boots, and their boyfriends were forced to be Gingey and Dragon. 

We had our plan set to dress up as characters from Shrek on what Juniata dubs “Halloweekend”, the weekend before Halloween. First though, I had to be again reminded that I had somehow been at Juniata for more than three years.  

October 30th was Senior Day for the Juniata Women’s Soccer team. Before our last game of the season, we had a small ceremony before the game. I walked with my parents through a tunnel of my teammates, received flowers and a framed plaque of my previous Juniata jersey, and heard my four-year stats and kind words from my teammates over the loudspeaker. I was met with fun decorations as I walked into our team locker room. Four tables filled with food met me after our game was done. Handmade scrapbook pages of funny memories and encouraging words were ribboned together in my locker. I felt a lot of love from my teammates and their families, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had grown three years older and wiser without my own permission. I cried a few tears but left our home field very full and very happy with arms full of gifts. I’ll be a mess after next semester’s lacrosse senior day, but I also imagine I will be happy looking back on my four year journey at Juniata, within athletics and outside of them. 

My friends and I have come a long way from our freshman selves, but I am so glad we’ve been able to keep our freshman year promises. We are finishing seasons, completing high-level research, reflecting on internships or studies abroad in real-world job interviews, telling new students about that time we had that professor and got that grade, and all other sorts of things we had promised ourselves we would get through but didn’t quite know we would. Senior year forces us to think a lot about the future, but there’s nothing wrong with reflecting on how far you’ve come and how old you may have gotten. 

Gameday “Sticious-es”

Talia Bertrando
Talia Bertrando ’22, Business Communication and Spanish POE

“I’m not superstitious…but I am a little sticious” – Michael Scott

If you’re one of my roommates coming into my room as I do work, you know that some show like The Office will be on my TV. I’m probably sitting on my bed, I may or may not be taking another “break” on social media, and, if it’s past 3 o’clock, I’ve almost certainly had a snack already. When I’m in the thick of a semester, I like fun, spontaneous weekends, but weekdays are for strict schedules and daily routines.

I wouldn’t call myself superstitious, but I could sometimes be called a creature of habit, maybe even a little sticious. Which is why, on March 20th, I had a little predicament when it came to me and my sticious-es. March 20th was my first real game in a long time. It had been exactly 372 days (yes, my team did the math) since my lacrosse team had played a real game that actually counted toward conference play. As I rode on the team bus to Scranton, PA for the game, one of my most important sticious-es was challenged.

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Cleats and Corona

Talia Bertrando
Talia Bertrando ’22, Business Communication and Spanish POE

“I can’t tell if I’m out of shape or this mask is making me think too hard about breathing.”

The same thought went through my head as my teammate spoke it. I had just gotten done doing sprints around the lacrosse field with pushups or sit-ups at each corner. I could feel my gator mask around my face and neck, semi-wet with my own sweat. I could taste my own mask whenever I took a breath through my mouth and smelling my own sweat when I took a breath through my nose. Neither option was ideal, and I felt as if I was breathing and sweating harder than ever. But really when I thought about it, I was having a great time.

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Snakes in a communication class?

I am not a snake person. There are people out there who find the slimy, sometimes life-threatening reptiles interesting or cool, but I am not one of those people. I certainly would never go out of my way to see a snake. As a business communication POE, I never expected a college course to somehow land me two feet away from a four-foot Eastern Ratsnake.

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Foreign Forever Memories

Last year, bored and antsy, I sat in the cafeteria reading the Juniata announcements. I read one informing students about a class still taking students. It was not a memorable day, but the information I learned led to me emailing a professor, joining a class, and getting an opportunity to learn in a life-changing way. There are some situations that you realize will be forever-memories even as you live them. I lived a forever memory this past May in a traditional kimono. Perhaps I should mention that my forever memory occurred in Kyoto, Japan all thanks to that Juniata class.

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