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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.
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.
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’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.
Thanks, Juniata, for a fun four years, and thanks to any of you who have followed my Juniata journey!
Can you believe I’m going to be ordering my cap and gown next week? Senior salute is in just a couple of days. Not only will I be trying on hats and gowns for size, but I’ll be tying up loose ends and deciding what’s next for me as I say goodbye to the staff from offices around campus.
What’s next for me? I was able to obtain a job in Philadelphia working for an adult education center, starting over the summer as an early education coordinator and transitioning into a night class teacher. While working, I plan to take pre-requisite credits at Temple University for speech pathology with hopes of continuing my education as a fulltime graduate student in the fall of 2018.
My education at Juniata College was individualized—I got exactly what I wanted from it. I picked Juniata so that I could have an undergraduate degree in something more marketable than pre-speech pathology. This was because I wanted to be more marketable and be able to work while attending graduate school so I could afford it and also so I could be gaining experience while still in academia.
I’ve already made this connection with the adult education center from two summers ago, I worked with them as a rising junior. Now, I am doing exactly what I wanted to do because of my marketable degree in Education Studies and Human Development.
I look forward to the years of possibility ahead. This is just the beginning. There are six weeks left of classes and 47 days until I take that walk down and switch over that tassel. It’s all just so surreal!
Well. This is it: my final blog post. Seems like my life is full of endings lately; the last day of internship, a final choir concert, and last house dinners. My parents took a lot of my furniture home with them after convocation, yesterday. However, I had a friend tell me when I was feeling down about all these great things coming to an end, that my life is still in its beginning chapters. And that really made sense and comforted the book nerd in me.
So in those terms, these past four years at Juniata College were just the beginning of my life story. But, what an amazing start! If you would have told me four years ago that college would be this fantastic experience, I probably would have agreed with you; but I don’t know if I would have said that I expected college to change me.
I know that is has though; I started to fully realize this during this past semester in probably one of the strangest ways. I re-watched early episodes of “Glee” on Netflix with my housemate, who had never seen the show before. I was obsessed with the show in high school and while I kept up with the show when I could in college, I haven’t seen the early season since they aired. As I was watching them this past semester, I could easily remember the first time I saw them. And I realized what a different person I was back then.
In high school, I just wanted to blend in. Despite my love for vintage clothes, I wore jeans and Hollister tees to fit in; I didn’t want to cause a stir. I also didn’t stand up for myself, which resulted in me getting emotionally hurt. Juniata, however, changed all that. I found amazing friends who didn’t care what I wore – in fact, liked the unique clothes I started to collect. I took classes and talked with professors who gave my thoughts validity. Without realizing it, I became a much stronger person; someone who could say what she believed, wear the clothes she loved, and have a goal of helping women and girls in harmful relationships. Juniata and this community made all of those things possible.
Sure, Juniata isn’t perfect, but what school is? Really, what home is? Because that is what Juniata has become to me: my home. I know that it is going to be hard to leave (I mean, I’m tearing up writing this – graduation day, I will probably be an emotional wreck), but I know that I will always have the memories of my time here, the strength and knowledge that I learned, and the support of my Juniata friends and community for the rest of my life. I know that my life is going to keep on changing, but I know that because of Juniata, it is going to keep on changing for the better.