As this school year draws to a close, I’ve got a lot on my mind. So much has happened—good things, bad things, and everything in between. It’s so hard to believe that it’s almost over, that, as per the cliché, it is the end of an era.
Now, depending on who you ask, I should be graduating in a week. However, if you add a year onto that week, you’ll have a far more accurate idea of when I’m graduating. I chose this, for sure—I’ve got my anthropology major, plus a few minors still left to finish, and I could not be more solid in my choice to stay. I’m not done here.
But, there’s a part of me that will feel wistful after next week. For all of my life, I have been a part of the class that is graduating on May 12th, 2018. When I first came to Kutztown, it was the people in my class that I could talk to. My only friends would have graduated at the same time as me, and it felt normal. For a while, it felt right. That wistfulness I spoke of comes from those memories—memories of a past that is no longer mine.
About a year and a half ago, though, I made the decision to stay an extra year at Kutztown. It wasn’t easy—or at least, it wasn’t at first. I was just figuring out that I wanted to spend the rest of my life teaching, but the very idea of having to jump into grad school in just one more year terrified me. Yet, most of the friends that I had would have graduated before me if I stuck with the extra year, and I would have been left behind. I would have had my best friend, Emily, but I’m an extrovert. I need to have people, and I’ll also emphasize the plurality of that word. The conflicting fears of grad school arriving too soon and of being almost alone ate at me for quite a while.
It was last semester that changed everything. First, I took Dr. Clemens’ women writers around the world class. I knew I would like the course material, but I had no way of knowing just how monumental and life changing this class would be for me. Through that class, I joined HerCampus. Writing on this platform has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and now that I’m going to be the president of Kutztown’s chapter next year, I could not be happier. And, while I’m on the subject, I want to wish a huge thank you and a congrats to all of the writers and editors who will be graduating next week. HerCampus Kutztown won’t be the same without any of you, but I hope I will make you proud by helping it push forward into the future. Through HerCampus and through this class, I have met some of the best friends I have ever had, many of whom will not be graduating in a week. On top of that, I picked up my minor in women’s and gender studies, which has, in turn, shown me that I want to spend the rest of my life studying gender and sexuality. I could not be more thankful to every one of you for making this past year the amazing experience it was.
Another thing happened last semester that, too, changed everything. Now, I’ve worked at the KU Writing Center for almost two years at this point, but last semester, my experiences there were among the most monumental of my life. Working at the Writing Center has taught me so much, and I have learned more from the people I have worked with here than anywhere else in my life. To everyone I have worked with at the Writing Center, whether you’ve already graduated, are about to graduate, or will be continuing on with me into the next year, you are all some of the most amazing people I have ever known. You have proven to me that I have value, that I have worth, and that I have the potential to do all that I dream to do. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
After all of this, I no longer question my decision to stay another year at Kutztown, and it is all because of every person who has been there for me along the way. All of you have made this last year to be, perhaps, the best year of my life. It may be the end of an era, but there is always a new one on the horizon. So to all of you, and you know who you are, thank you, so, so much.