I will graduate this weekend and unlike a lot of grads, I am totally at peace with this moving on. Part of this probably has to do with the graduation process itself: I’m going to the Honors College graduation ceremony Friday night, and the Croft Institute for International Studies graduation on Saturday. Neither has quite the tradition and pomp of my high school graduation ceremony. Fort Collins High School has had the same music played, same traditional yellow rose given to graduates, etc. since World War II. Which is pretty cool. I just know that I’ll be in touch with my fellow Crofties for the rest of my life, so I don’t have the same feeling of everything ending that I did in high school. This isn’t a sad moment, it really is a celebration of moving on and finding our place in the world.
That being said, it’s also a time of reflection over the past four years. Instead of focusing on the things I’ll miss, the things I wish I had done (uhh, blog more? oops.), I’d like to propose a list of things I’ve learned. That IS why I came here, so I feel it’s only appropriate:
1. Take chances, make mistakes, get messy. Truth be told, Miss Frizzle taught me this back in my “Magic Schoolbus” days, but it really hit home these past four years. You’re only going to get the chance to do crazy, stupid, fun, challenging things once, so rip your clothes, ruin your grade, and just do it. Go dance in the Grove at midnight. Drive outside the county to buy beer on a Sunday. Watch that really bad chick flick with sisters instead of writing an essay. These are the things we actually remember from college, not a dumb 5 page paper about the influence of neoliberalism on Latin American economies (true life- I wrote that essay).
2. Sometimes what you want to do with your life isn’t a career, and that’s totally ok. Sorry mom and dad, but thing the I have improved the most on in these past 4 years isn’t necessarily scholastic. I think we know what I”m talking about. I have become a WAY better ultimate frisbee player than I could have ever imagined. I made the women’s all-section team for the Gulf Coast- SAY WHAT!? And I am WAY more passionate about it than I ever was about volleyball. Ultimate offers a way to stay active and healthy, make friends and have a supportive community all over the country. Not to mention couches to crash on….So I think this is what I’m going to do the rest of my life. Because jobs come and go, careers change, so I’m stick with this because it’s what I’m passionate about.
3. Family aren’t just the people you’re related to. If I have learned anything, it is that family is THE MOST IMPORTANT source of support, help, a sofa to sleep on, anything. And I don’t just mean the people actually related to you. Because of my far-flung parents, I have been adopted by sorority sisters’ families, old family friends, my mom’s godmother’s children, old church friends, etc., and they have been such a great support system these past four years. For example, when I found out I received an AOII national scholarship, my first reaction was of course to call mom and dad, but Mom told me not to call at random times with exciting news, to just email (haha, sorry about that one time at 2 in the morning….). So I called miss Ruth, my good friend Leigh’s mom and the AOII advisor who wrote my recommendation for the award, and shared the exciting news. Naturally, she was a proud momma!
4. Life is what you make it. We often tell girls going through Rush that sororities can take up as much or as little time as they want- it’s all what you put into it. I think that goes for life as well. Though it has come back to bite me in the butt, I’ve really liked being a really involved person throughout college. And I really don’t see any reason to stop being involved with AOII, volunteering, being an active member of a church, or any of the things I love just because I’m moving and becoming an “adult,” whatever that may mean! I’m going to put a lot into life, and I think that’s gonna really make for a cool life.
5. Love the earth. Turns out most of the stuff that my parents told me to do- reuse that water bottle, turn of the sink while you brush your teeth, wash your clothes on cold, save plastic bags to use again, etc etc, are really good things to do for the earth. And since the earth is a pretty cool place to live, I’d like to keep doing all I can to keep it beautiful. Lord knows I want to go back to Ecuador and find it as green as when I left it, and if recycling and turning off the lights will keep it green, then I’m in.
That’s just my short list. I’m really thankful for the opportunities to learn these lessons and thankful for the opportunities I’ll have in North Carolina to keep learning.
And if you’d like to see what has been occupying my time so that I haven’t been blogging here, check out my final project for my narrative journalism class here.