Meet the Lioness Celina Ortiz '17

It’s safe to say that we all miss the Lions. From slaying during Black Cat week to making Pancake Jam as lively as possible, you could hear the Lions roar from any corner of the campus. I had the lovely opportunity to interview a beautiful lion, Celina Ortiz ‘17 and see what she’s up to since it’s almost been a year since she’s left *cue the tissues*.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Major: Religion and Social Justice (History Minor)

Her Campus: It's almost been a year since you graduated, how's post-grad life been so far?

Celina Ortiz: That's a pretty loaded question and had I journaled better or more often, I'd have a more helpful answer. The short answer is that it has been revealing. In both the difficult and simple situations, I am learning. Whether about myself, people around me, or even the spaces I interact in, I am constantly learning. The trick is to make it a positive lesson. My Scottie Sibling talked me through a really problematic work situation by reminding me my comfort level with tough conversations is much different and that though I did not enjoy it, I created a space to allow that person to grow in. Post-grad life has been an entire process of learning openness and willingness to share. Share thoughts, ideas, myself, my spoons, comfortable spaces, etc.

HC: What's your biggest advice to those graduating in a month and those that still have a couple of years left?

CO: Don't compromise your individual mission or personal values to be somewhere that doesn't support you mentally, emotionally, socially, and physically. If you have to pocket away a part of your identity, thoughts or ideas you have, if you cannot live in your whole truth, does that space deserve all that you bring to it? Also, have a highlight for every day. The days can get long and testy, but if there is one thing you can laugh or smile about at the end of it, that's something to get you to the next special moment.

HC: What's your favorite memory of Agnes?

CO: My favorite memory of Agnes is my first night on campus as a first year. I had been out wandering around campus and the square with new friends. We all got carried away talking and getting to know one another. We went back to my neighbor's room to continue the shenanigans. As the night carried on, we all slowly lowered ourselves from standing, to sitting on the beds, to laying on blankets on the floor. As my first day of undergrad concluded, I fell asleep next to the woman that would become my best friend, creating the first of many beautiful memories with my sister soulmate.

HC: What's been the most challenging experience that you didn't expect?

CO: The most challenging aspect of my college journey that I did not expect was the loss I experienced. I had a difficult time trying to balance what was going on at home in Michigan and completing my first and senior years at Agnes. This was clearly a challenge that people do not prepare for, but I knew I wanted to continue without leaving school. The learning process for me was including mental health practices/tools to handle my grief.

HC: What do you feel like Agnes most prepared you for? Or not?

CO: Post-graduating Agnes, what I felt least prepared for was the drastic change in the 6 months following. I left Agnes and jumped right into a job, re-immersing myself into a community that I was comfortable. The summer period felt like any other normal amount of time I have spent away from Agnes. It was during the fall that not being on campus and surrounded by my friends that the adjustment was harder for me. It was odd watching my friends go back to campus and make memories from social media without me. I obviously knew that would happen, but I had not prepared for navigating adulthood to find friends post-college. Many of the friends I have met through Agnes are my chosen family and for the better part of 6 months, I had no good friends or close family to confide in or go to following my time in Georgia. I lived for the moments I could get away to visit. It wasn't until the new year that I finally felt comfortable and supported by those around me to open up and create new and loving connections that resembled what I took away from Agnes.

HC: What are four words that best describe your experience?

CO: Four words that best describe my post-grad experience: Learning to grow uncomfortably.

 

HC: Now some rapid fire questions! Favorite place on campus?

CO: My favorite building is McCain Library

HC: What celebrity annoys you the most?

CO: Just one? *inserts teeth clenching emoji and scratches head*

HC: Favorite place in the square?

CO: Butter and Cream

HC: What was the last book you read?

CO: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur - after undergrad it's been a bit hard to read anything other than poetry.

HC: What do you miss most about the South?

CO: Waffle House, we don't have them in Michigan.