Senior Year: An Early Goodbye

Dear Emory,

It was August 2016, and I had mixed feelings about starting college, especially with you. Most people know you weren’t my first choice and at some points didn’t even seem like a choice at all. But alas, I was still excited for the classic college experiences. I spent endless hours trying to pick the perfect roommate to start my college career (a major success), shopped for all my dorm essentials, and ultimately purchased the famous lanyard, branding me as a naive college freshman.   

As 2016 turned into 2017, my college experience started to go downhill, and I really did feel that sophomore slump. There were many tough times where I struggled to connect with you whether that be with the people, the clubs, the academics--I  just didn’t feel like I belonged. Reaching the halfway mark with my college experience, I reluctantly returned for the start of my junior year. Despite my initial reserve, I would start to see that this remaining half of college would soon be something I missed so dearly. 

Eventually, I began to solidify what I wanted to do with my life and how to pursue that with your support. I figured out which clubs and organizations I was meant to be a part of, whether that be pursuing programming and communications with College Council, leading inspirational women with Her Campus, or playing endless hours of tennis with my club team. 

Most of all, I found my people--my weekly brunch besties, my study buddy, my boss girl partner in crime, my unexpected friend, my sisterhood of goofballs, my tennis playing pals, and my coffee date for life lady--the ones who might have taken longer than expected to find but am oh so glad I did (you know who you are). 

Senior year came, and I was finally thriving. I was enjoying every single aspect of my time with you, so much so that I never wanted it to end. As the months passed by so quickly, I was constantly avoiding the idea of May. I kept saying “I don’t know what’s gonna happen after May 11.” Obviously, things changed, and May 11 turned into March 11: the day I received the email that ended college as I knew it. I had to finish my classes online. I had to move out of my apartment. I had to leave without saying a proper goodbye. 

So, here I am, understanding that the world is experiencing something we have never experienced before. I am distraught thinking of the unbelievably many individuals who are suffering from COVID-19, whether directly or indirectly. These uncharted waters are taking away loved ones, forcing people out of their jobs, and creating completely different living conditions. I am extremely cognizant of this and am 100% respectful of the situation. 

But, here I am also missing out on the last few months of my never to be experienced again senior year of college. I am forced to say an abrupt goodbye. Goodbye to having a last in person day of class. Goodbye to my last tennis practice with my team. Goodbye to my last walk around your beautiful campus. Goodbye to the candlelight crossover. Goodbye to graduation. Goodbye to the blue and gold. 

Thus, as I sit at home, practicing social distancing, I can’t help but think about everything you’ve given me and all the little things I will miss. 

I will never again struggle to swipe my card correctly to enter the WoodPec stairs

I will never again sit at my favorite wooden table at the bookstore and catch up on schoolwork while drinking some Starbucks

I will never again walk on uneven bricks behind the Anthropology building 

I will never again think about whether to take the C route or the loop to get to class on time

I will never again check the weather app before getting dressed to see if ATL decided to be Hotlanta, a depression of rain, or a snow day resulting in the cancellation of class 

I will never again have the chance of seeing Dooley walk in and cancel my class 

I will never again wait in line for free food or a highly coveted T-shirt

I will never again sit in White Hall for 1 hour and 15 minutes and struggle to stretch my legs  

I will never again wonder if today’s the day I get food poisoning from Cox or Kaldi’s

I will never again walk into my CRC apartment and yell out “Hello??” starting a 3-hour conversation with my roommate 

I will never again sit on the quad and reenact the classic college brochure pictures 

I will never again struggle with EmoryUnplugged 

I will never again pass a tour group and think back to when I was in high school visiting campus

I will never again wear copious amounts of school apparel 

I will never again be a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior

And I will never again be an undergraduate student at Emory University

Thank you for the past 4 years even though they might not all have been a dream come true. Thank you for my experiences, my friends, and my insight into who I now know I am. I’m hopeful that in time, we will have a chance to reunite for a potential celebration of the Class of 2020 and say a formal goodbye. But for now I’ll conclude with “how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” - Winnie the Pooh.

With love,

Laura