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Veronica Alfred
Career > Her20s

Stepping across that Graduation Stage

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SAU chapter.

2018-2024 My College Career

As I get ready to step across that graduation stage on May 18th, I am so excited but also sad. These years are the start and end date of my college career. I once heard a quote that it doesn’t matter what you do at the start or at the end but how you live in the middle. I had a rough start to college and it ended up being more years than most(6 in total) but that time is what made me grow.

My name is Veronica Alfred and I am graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education with an Endorsement in Special Education and a Minor in Music. I will be representing the following honors at graduation: DAPi Honor Society Cord & Pin, Her Campus Cord, Campus Trendsetter Cord, First-Gen Pin, MAVO Cord, Sexual Assault Advocate Cord & a Sexual Assault(SAAT) Pin. It may have taken extra years to get here through switching majors and a pandemic but I finally have made it to the graduation stage. 

My time here

Freshman Year(2018-19)

A year full of fun, struggles, and adventure as a Music Education Major with a Concentration in both vocal and instrumental music. So much happened and with a year full of memories, I won’t forget any of it. The year started off with me moving in early for band camp where I fell in love with the mellophone. The halftime show was called “BEEliever” and it really made me feel welcome. A super cool experience I got to have in Ireland. The band toured Kilkenny, Cork and Dublin playing as we went and traveling to play music in another country made me feel on top of the world. In the spring, I was introduced to Her Campus by a friend and little did I know then, about where my life would go by attending one meeting. I had event planning experience so I was also asked to join the exec board for the next school year.  The photo below is a picture of my in Ireland having dinner with a few of my band friends at that time.

Ireland Band Dinner
Original photo by Amber Meyer
Sophomore Year(2019-20)

A year that ended way too soon! I got to be on the SLT(Student Leadership team) for the Marching Band and it was a lot of work but I wouldn’t trade Field Staff for the world. I got to learn from those who had been in the marching band since its birth and that to me is irreplaceable. Also being on the Her Campus(HC) exec as events coordinator was so much fun. I got to plan craft and movie nights, icebreakers at meetings, etc. When I say the year ended too soon, it literally did because over spring break, Covid-19 sent us into a downward spiral with online classes, virtual flute lessons, nothing in person, wearing masks, an unknown illness, etc which can crush any college student. The picture below is the high brass family taking our annual group silly photo.

Band Camp High Brass Group Photo
Original photo by Elena Vallejo
Junior Year(2020-21)

Covid-19 still a problem but we knew how to navigate it better. Classes were either fully virtual, hybrid, or in person with masks & social distancing. I had gotten promoted in the Marching Band to Co-Head of Field Staff which was interesting as band camp fell only a few days after my last day of physical therapy. I got delayed into PT since Covid made it hard to start new patients so I had to start teaching myself how to walk on a foot with 5 screws, a staple and a heel graft cause I tore the ligament and fractured a lot of bones when I fell down the stairs. Got through the year but I realized that I was starting to hate the thing I once loved. How could I hate music? I owed it to myself to gain that love back so I switched majors from Music Ed to Early Childhood Education with an Endorsement in Special education but I promised not to stray too far from Music so I made it my minor since all the work was already completed. Switching majors I learned soon after was what I needed and it re-sparked my passion and fire for music because I got to play and grow without all the pressure of believing I wasn’t good enough. The picture below is from my last day of practicum at the end of the school year. 

Junior End of Year Photo
Original photo by Haley Sweatman
Senior Year(2021-22)

I don’t know how to describe this year besides saying bittersweet. What should have been the year I graduated when thinking about a 4 year degree was not that due to the change, so I got to see friends leave and it was a bit rough. It was hard knowing that this would be the last time I performed a half time show on the football field or atomic dance parties before games with the mellophones. Even with some ends, I had a great friend group so our Girls’ Night, movies, Hockey Games, etc always made me laugh and our time together was absolutely amazing. I had also joined SAAT(Sexual Assault awareness Team) on campus and gotten involved to create a safer campus for everyone. I was also fortunate enough to be hired for a job on campus that wasn’t the Children’s Campus. I had the opportunity to work in the Office of Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion otherwise known as D.E.I. It taught me so much and my coworkers along with my boss always made me feel at home. I learned so much by just working on displays and attending events for the different DEI groups on campus. The amount of knowledge I gained in one year seemed to be way more abundant than in my previous years of schooling. I was also given the opportunity to move up on the HC Exec Board which was very nerve wracking at first but I think I got the hang of it. I was asked to be the Co-Campus Correspondent(Co-CC) for our chapter of HC @ SAU. By the end of the year I was able to run the chapter by myself. During the end of year award ceremony my Co-CC and I had received the Queen Bee award which was the 2nd biggest award that can be earned at our chapter and it was special because I got to earn it with the person who mentored me. The picture below is Maddie, Piper, and I enjoying a Hockey game. We only went to go see the fights!

Hockey Game
Maddie Piper
5th Year(2022-23)

Let’s call my fifth year at SAU the year of leveling up and growth. So much happened last school year and I don’t even know where to begin so bear with me as I jump around. I got promoted in the DEI Office from Work Study to the Ambassador which can have a lot of responsibilities and challenges but I loved all of it. Don’t get me wrong I am not going to say I was perfect and there were some growing experiences but getting to work with the DEI Clubs on campus made me feel really good inside. No one could take away how much I loved my job but also how that office of seven people (Fritz, Saddler, Mary/Vince, Yaz, Daniel, Jeffrey, and myself) felt like a family. Another big thing in my life became SAAT. I was on the exec board in the fall of 2023 as the secretary but in the beginning of the spring semester, I had moved up to the Social Media Director but more importantly I became a Sexual Assault Advocate. I can be there to support survivors of SA however they need it and to me that is more than just a responsibility but a way I can give back to the SAU community. When I completed the course we had five advocates in total but we had nine more going through the semester long course. In April, we had a vote for the coming school year and there were some position changes and description changes but I got the opportunity to stay on the executive board. We went from five positions to four (Co-Executors-two Presidents with one being the Head Advocate, Social Media Director/Secretary, and Treasurer). I kept my social media position and combined it with secretary so both were roles I previously held. Another life event I had was my initiation into DAPi(Delta Alpha Pi) which is the honor society for students with disabilities. I got inducted so when I graduate I will have honor cords to show for all my hard work in college while overcoming my disability. It had been a long journey to get to the point where I could imagine wearing any honor cords on the day I graduate but I can say that I did it. Her Campus had an easy fall but the spring was a bit more rough and eventful. We had three brand campaigns (YSL, Sun Bum, and Estee Lauder), Lots of events such as my personal favorite being the Speaker Panel, and our advisor who had retired passed away. It was a bit of a rough time. I wrote an article in memory of her but more importantly we were able to fundraise in person and virtually on the Day of Giving in the spring over $1,500 to have a Flower Memorial Garden in honor of her. It was a lot of work but seeing it pay off the next fall was worth it. The picture below is from our HC Spring Photoshoot. 

Spring \'23 Photoshoot
Elena Vallejo
6th Year(2023-24)

Here we are in my final year of college and it’s all finally coming to an end so here is a recap of what made this year special to me. I moved into an off-campus house that the school owns and when I first moved in, it looked scary but as I cleaned A LOT and unpacked as well as my roommates did when they moved in, it started to feel like a home. My fall semester was a lot of fun but also preparing for my spring semester of student teaching. I made sure to keep everyone updated on my journey as a student teaching but here is a shout out to the rest of my final year! SAAT was a lot of transitional pieces as I taught my replacement but full of great new ideas to bring to the campus that made an impact on so many people. Fall was my final semester as the DEI Ambassador. I have enjoyed and gotten to grow so much during my time in that office. I will never let any of those memories or lessons go but I was also so happy to pass on the torch to Ben Davis, the next ambassador. He works incredibly hard so I know the office will be in good hands. This year I also became the President of Delta Alpha Pi also known as DAPi. DAPi is the National Honor Society for students with disabilities. In the spring, I started student teaching and I have a split placement. I spent the first half of my semester in third grade and the second half in preschool with 3-4 year olds, several having IEPs. I had the great honor to be speaking at the Her Campus Women’s History Month Panel as a panelist. This year’s panel talked about creating your legacy. I got to speak with three amazing women: Dr.Ritu Gurung, Dr.Sarah Eikleberry, and Dr.Emily Kingery. At the SAU Student Awards Night, many awards were given out but I am going to proudly mention two that mean a lot to me. The Sexual Assault Awareness team received the DEI Collective Impact Award from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office. I also received an award from the Accessibility Resource Center which was for my work with disabilities and advocacy. I received the ARC Leadership Award. The picture below is from our Spring Photoshoot with HC and I absolutely love, adore and am going to crazy miss these amazing ladies. 

Spring 2024 Photoshoot
Addison Frahm

How I got involved in HC & What it means to me

I mentioned how I got involved in Her Campus my freshman year but HC to me has been so much of my journey and time here so it means a lot to me. HC @ SAU has given me a family and a great support system of women to want to push and inspire others to grow/become our best selves even when we think that we are stuck. It has given me great opportunities to become a stronger leader and work on life skills that I can definitely use in my future. I am so proud to have seen our chapter grow from when I first started. I am beyond thrilled to see my cousin, Haley, who joined us this year as a freshman at SAU and became a member because I know she will have a group of people to support her long after I graduate. The picture below is from the Dr. Ann Preston Garden Memorial. 

Preston Memorial Group Photo
Elena Vallejo

Thank You

To my Family because I know this journey has been absolutely crazy and long. You have always supported me and given me a good kick in the A** when I needed it. Mom and Dad, thank you for all the financial support but also for trusting me to go away. Jackie, my annoying little sister(I say it out of love), for helping me figure out the whole major change and adding to my wardrobe, lol. The picture below is from my sister and I getting ready to attend the Olivia Rodrigo Concert.

Olivia Rodrigo Concert
Mary Allgood

To Dr. Angela Rekers for helping me as my advisor to get through what I needed to graduate. For being someone I always could go to when I was confused or help reaching incredibly high goals but also being a voice to advocate for me to be in the program. When I struggled, and helping me see that there was a way to make it through while not dropping the ball on any of the million things I did while here. 

To my Friends & Roommates for being my support system but also keeping me sane. We have gone through a lot here together and the memories will last forever. Mary, we have lived together for 4 years and you still find ways to surprise me. Piper, we lived together for a short period of time but you quickly became my partner in crime. My education friends/family have been through a lot and we can finally say we have made it. We did it together at times as we kept each other standing and fighting when we felt completely insane. The picture below is from when I took Piper to her first bar.

Piper & I Night
Veronica Alfred

To Fritz Dieudonne & Ryan Saddler for taking a chance on me when I was hired because I didn’t have a big background in anything D.E.I. besides music. You have both been an additional parent to me when I needed advice or help. You have seen me come out of my shell and pushed me to do great things and you have helped me when I struggled. The D.E.I. office has felt like a family to me. For all the jokes and laughs even if they were about me. Thank you for everything I learned because I will be taking it into my profession as it has left an impact on me forever. The picture below is from the SAU Student Award Ceremony as I stand with the best bosses ever. 

SAU Awards Night
Haley Sweatman

To Lindsey Ekblad for being my ARC provider and helping me when I was unsure what to do in difficult times. You made sure that any classroom I stepped into would feel safe for me to be myself. As well as believing in me to appoint me to be the President of Delta Alpha Pi. So sorry that I couldn’t stay and do a masters’ program here, lol. The picture below is from the DAPI grad Cord/Induction ceremony.

DAPi Grad Cord Ceremony
Haley Sweatman

To Robin Asay & Rose Bishop, my flute teachers during my time here. You helped me keep my passion for music more specifically for flute alive even when I struggled with balancing my academics, personal, work and family life. You have both given me great opportunities and reminded me why I love to play. 

To Her Campus, but more specifically several people. To Marianne Fenn for being our advisor over the years and helping us with things as we needed it. To Lydia & Alex for both seeing something in me to become a leader in the club as I joined the exec board and then as a campus correspondent. To the amazing exec boards I have gotten to work with especially Maddie & Abby. I am sure I have driven you crazy at times but without you I couldn’t do it all. Well, I would have gone insane if I had tried. You all helped make this chapter flourish and I can’t wait to see what you two do next. The picture below is from our 2024 Winter Photoshoot with my VPs(Left: Maddie, Right: Abby) even though the weather felt like spring that week. 

Winter 2024 Photoshoot
Elena Vallejo

What is next for me?

As I get ready to walk across the stage at graduation I will become a teacher. I can’t wait to influence and teach my students to become confident, knowledgeable, self aware and a great tiny human. I am super excited to announce and share that I have accepted a position as a K-2 Resource Teacher!!! 

Veronica Student Teaching
Veronica Alfred

The photo above is from my first student teaching placement. Looking for what teachers want as a graduation gift or what things you might want in your own classroom? Here is my amazon wish list that I have been building during my student teaching semester: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2AMOL9Q5U3O8B?ref_=wl_share

Campus Correspondent Signing Off <3

HCXO, Veronica Alfred

Veronica A(V) is the Campus Correspondent at HC @ SAU. She oversees the entire chapter including editorial, events, social media, etc. Beyond HC, V is involved on campus. She is the President of DAPi. She is the Social Media Director for SAAT, and a Sexual Assault Advocate. Veronica is majoring in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Special Education and a minor in Music. She is currently student teaching!!! In her freetime, V plays the flute and other instruments and can sing. She used to play and coach softball. Veronica was born in Florida but now lives in Illinois. She also has 2 cats at home. She was the D.E.I. Ambassador for 2 years.