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My own college graduation story

Cindy Gibboney
Cindy Gibboney ’18, Director of Enrollment/Alumni Engagement

“What was I thinking?” That pretty much sums up my thoughts during my eight years of working towards my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.

Let me back up a little. Prior to coming to Juniata College, I had a convoluted start to working towards my degree. As a first-generation student, my family had no idea that “the college search” was even a thing. I did know, however, that I would need to further my education to help with my future. I spent one year at a local community college before my father received orders from the Air Force to relocate to Berlin, Germany. Once there, I found out that there were college courses offered that I could attend in the evenings and on the weekends, since I was working full-time. So, I picked away at taking the courses. After three years, I earned my Associates Degree in Arts from the University of Maryland, even though I had never stepped foot on their campus.

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We are Juniatians no matter where we are.

Taylor Hallabuk
Taylor Hallabuk ’20, Strategic Communication POE, Free spirit navigating life through Kesha songs and spontaneity

 

I always knew leaving Juniata would be my hardest goodbye, but having the last two months of my senior year taken away has made that goodbye so much harder. I had no idea that as I eagerly packed my 2008 Honda CRV for my spring break trip with my friends to Georgia, that those would be my last moments on campus as an undergrad. I hugged my roommate goodbye, ironically packed the lightest I ever have in my life, and didn’t look back as I drove away, thinking that I would return to campus in just ten short days.

I didn’t know – nobody did.

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3 Tips to Survive and Thrive as a Transfer Student

I was not ready at all for college by the time high school graduation rolled around. While all of my friends got their college acceptance letters, I was barely ready to think about the subject, let alone make the leap into higher education. Graduation came and went, those friends moved across the country, and there I was. I knew that college was my eventual goal, but my journey was beginning to look a bit unconventional. Honestly, it took me a while to realize that that’s 100% totally okay!

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Graduation, it’s only a year away…

Spring is often seen as a season of new beginnings.  The dead limbs of the trees burst back to life and the dandelions become prolific.  It’s a seson of sunshine and happiness after the dark and cold and dreary days of Winter.  For some, however, it can be a season of melancholy.  I am of course talking about the Seniors who will be graduating in thirteen days.  Yes, graduation is supposed to be a happy affair, a celebration of achievement over the past four years and all the achievement that the future holds for the graduating class.  It is also a bittersweet affair because while the graduating class is going off to change the world, their graduation marks the end of a very remarkable era.

I am a Junior here at Juniata and with each passing day I become more and more preoccupied with my own impending graduation.  There are so many things that I need to do in the next year to be even remotely ready to graduate.  I need to take the GRE so I can apply to Graduate schools, I need to apply to Graduate schools, write a thesis on the research that I have done here at Juniata, and try to have as much fun in the next year as I possibly can.

 Figure 1: Just two of the many amazing people that I have met while here at Juniata, doing what we do best, making door decorations for our residents.

Figure 1: Just two of the many amazing people that I have met while here at Juniata, doing what we do best, making door decorations for our residents.

I am not a fan of clichés, especially in writing, but I do believe that college is one of the best times of your life.  I didn’t come to terms with this realization until the beginning of last semester.  I was not having any fun.  Now that’s not to say I stayed in my room and did homework all the time; I did manage to get out periodically, but I never did anything that was outside my comfort zone, nothing that challenged me to grow as a person.  So, I decided to change that.  The one thing that I do not want to do is walk across the front steps of Halbritter a year from now and wish I had done more during my undergraduate years.

My Last Blog

After a week or so of settling in at Juniata College in the fall of 2013, I received an e-mail from my admissions counselor asking me if I’d be interested in joining her staff of bloggers. Here I am, four years later, at the tail end of my college career, writing my last blog.

Juniata has given me an abundance of opportunity. I had multiple campus jobs, studied abroad in Ireland for a year, and took some amazing classes with really great professors. I’m thankful for the jobs because I was able to engage with what I’m interested in: sharing information about Juniata and working with writing. Studying abroad was a great opportunity for me to meet people from around the world and expand my worldview. Finally, while I may heavily favor the English department, I thoroughly appreciate the liberal arts background that Juniata has given me through the courses I’ve taken outside my area of study.

I have taken the majority of my English POE credits with Dr. Mathur, so a last day of class selfie was a necessity.
I have taken the majority of my English POE credits with Dr. Mathur, so a last day of class selfie was a necessity.

I’ll always remember my days at Juniata participating in classes, giving tours, and tutoring in the Writing Center, but I’ll also remember the shenanigans like tenting for Madrigal or getting those early morning calls as part of the Mountain Day wake-up crew. Yes, I developed academically and professionally, but I also had fun. When people ask me what I love most about Juniata, I often say “the people.” I then follow that with a story from when I visited campus. The student whom I ate lunch with had to do a sign language scavenger hunt in which she had to have other students outside the class perform certain actions by giving them instructions in sign language. Students she approached dropped what they were doing to pay attention to her and to try to decipher what she wanted them to do. She had strangers doing cartwheels and football players sprinting to race each other. That’s when I realized that Juniata students are smart, but they’re also fun.

 

My good pals and fellow Writing Center seniors and I enjoying our last shift after three years of working together.
My good pals and fellow Writing Center seniors and I enjoying our last shift after three years of working together.

Thanks, Juniata, for a fun four years, and thanks to any of you who have followed my Juniata journey!