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To the Class of 2021

             As the end of the semester approaches, I am trying to focus on finishing up my classes and fighting through the burnout that has taken over this spring. It is a chaotic period that is usually dreaded the minute we move back in January. This started out as a semi-normal semester, and it still is, but as time keeps going I am slowly realizing that some of my best friends are graduating and handing me the torch on May 15th. [bf_image id="q5hn1k-57ew48-an0zlj"]           Time at Stonehill goes by WAY too fast. It seems like yesterday I was walking in the pouring rain during Orientation, meeting new faces and struggling to navigate campus. I sit here now going into my second year as an Orientation Leader, eager to share all the great experiences college has to offer with first-year students. For the Class of 2021, it was a hard year and hard is an understatement. The pandemic took away so much and caused their year to pan out differently. As a junior, watching them overcome the challenges firsthand is so inspiring and I am sure other underclassmen feel the same. Becoming a senior is an emotional time, and now being the oldest students on campus with the new restrictions is a lot to handle. I am proud to say I know some seniors very well who have taken me under their wing. I have watched them succeed, turn into amazing role models, and grow into themselves. During these last few weeks, I will still be taking notes on how to manage it all when it becomes my turn in just a few months. 

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          Recently, we had some of our last Dance Club classes leading up to the final show. After dancing beside the same people for five semesters, it will be hard to fill those spaces in the fall. We grew a bond that is like family, sharing the Hemingway Stage and the studio every week for years. To my Dance Club seniors, I am so grateful we share the same passion and enjoyment for dance. I have learned to memorize Cathy’s warmup, walk with purpose, and wake up at 6 am to have a full-day dress rehearsal. This year, I learned to dance through zoom and turn my common room into a dance class. This last show, despite the circumstances, will for sure be the best one yet because of the work you have put in. I can not wait to dance it out one last time, and we know you will always find your way back home to us. Unfortunately, Stonehill Musical Theatre Club was unable to put on a full production this year. Since there are so many moving parts to a show that are not COVID safe, the club decided to do a virtual showcase to end the spring semester. To my SMTC seniors, this one is hard. We did not get to perform together this time, but that does not take away the moments and insane memories that were created in the past. I am honored to be your choreographer, but I could not have done it without you guys supporting me. I have learned to make do with what we have (we still love Alumni), and how to grow as an actor and singer. I can’t wait to watch your talents take you far after graduation.

                      Certain “lasts” are coming up as well for so many others. We will soon embark on our last layout night for The Summit Newspaper, led by our amazing editor-in-chief. I have learned life skills and the ins and outs of journalism because of the leaders that taught me, and for that I am thankful. My OL seniors have already had a crazy last Orientation that impacted me in the best way. We went virtual and then we managed in person, introducing the Class of 2024 to a new college lifestyle. I want to thank you for being my people, dealing with my energy, and still mentoring us as you walk across the stage. I wish nothing but the best for the seniors. Writing this was emotional, but in the way where you swell up with pride and happiness because I am lucky enough to know you. To my fellow juniors and soon-to-be “rising seniors”, we have to make sure we leave our mark just as much as the class before us. They will throw their caps and then leave the campus to the students just a year below them. Even though this sounds like closure, it definitely is not. We still have a few weeks left to enjoy being juniors and for those seniors to take in their moment. With that, here is to the final stretch.

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Justine Long

Stonehill '22

Hi! My name is Justine Long and I am a junior Mediated Communications major, Journalism minor at Stonehill College! I am from Chelmsford, MA, and love to write, dance, and listen to One Direction and Taylor Swift (of course). I hopefully want to write or edit for a magazine/newspaper after college, which is why I joined Her Campus!
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