Lyra Biancamano: Senior, Blue and Gold Winner, Future Leader

Name: Lyra Biancamano

Age: 22

Hometown: Hillsborough

Major: English and Elementary Education

 

How do you feel about graduating?

Honestly, I think I’m a bit of a cliché. I am somewhere in the middle of can’t wait to get going but I’m really not quite ready to leave. I think I have done everything I possibly could here, but of course, there’s that part of me that doesn’t want to let go.

 

What is your favorite part about TCNJ?

My favorite part of TCNJ is just the overall atmosphere. I feel connected to this place because it’s full of students who are wildly successful, and it pushes me to be better. I also appreciate the atmosphere of TCNJ in a sense that the students here, though very competitive, never hesitate to reach out or ask for help. It’s almost like everyone knows we’re all struggling, so we try to help each other the best we can. Also, there’s this cozy little nook on the fourth floor of the library I like to take naps in, so that’s another favorite part of TCNJ!

 

What is your proudest accomplishment from the last four years?

My proudest accomplishment has to be being inducted into the TCNJ Blue and Gold Hall of Fame. I never saw myself as someone who could accomplish such a feat. I love knowing I have left a legacy on a campus I at one point wanted to leave. Knowing that I have done some good in our small corner of the world changed me and humbles me. I am so grateful.

 

What was your best moment in college?

My best moment in college was anytime a transfer who I didn’t know came up to me and talked to me as if I were their best friend. One student in particular who I hadn’t considered myself being close with wrote me a note telling me how much I had inspired them. They wanted to be a successful transfer student. This blows my mind. I never thought I would be someone people looked up to and aspired to be like.

 

How did you feel when you won the Blue & Gold award?

When I found out I was being inducted into the hall of fame, I broke down in tears. It felt like anytime I had ever felt like I couldn’t do it or anytime someone had told me I couldn’t do it was worth it. It felt like suddenly everything I had hoped to do at this school was recognized, and I felt so humbled. I feel incredibly honored to have been inducted into the hall of fame. It does not feel real, and I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life who have helped me get here. To me, winning this award will show people you don’t need to hold every honor title or every leadership position. You just have to have passion. You just have to want to make things a little better than when you found them.  

 

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be applying to graduate school to earn my masters in Student Affairs. I want to keep impacting college students — I have really found my niche there. Right now, I am torn between West Chester’s program and Rutgers’s program; hopefully, I will be able to make a choice about the schools, but both are such great programs.

 

What will you miss most about TCNJ?

I will miss the people who have made me who I am. I will miss the people I could go to if I needed a shoulder to cry on. I will miss the transfers who have surpassed my expectations. I will miss the family I have here.

 

Who is the person here who had the biggest impact on your college life/life in general?

That is such a hard question. I guess if we are talking about college, I would have to say Lindsay Barndt; she’s my boss, but she is someone I have been able to confide in, learn from, and be inspired by. Lindsay goes after what she wants. She makes it happen. She doesn’t let what anyone says stop her from getting to her goal. She has pushed me when I needed to be pushed and guided me when I needed to be guided. I am so lucky to have someone like her who helps me become the person I want to be. If I am half the person Lindsay is one day, I know I will have done something right.

 

How do you plan to carry out the lessons you learned here throughout life?

I have learned so much here. I have learned that above all else, passion comes first. If you find something you are passionate about, there is nothing that will stop you. I hope to keep developing my passions for the rest of my life. I have also learned to let go. I expect people to give me their best, and sometimes they can’t. I have to learn to accept that and always give my best no matter what. As cliché as it sounds, I have also learned to ignore the people who tell me I can’t do something. When I first joined a program here at TCNJ, someone did not want me there; they made it very clear. If I had listened to that person, I wouldn’t be where I am. I am very grateful to have had people who encouraged me to keep going, but at the end of the day, I have to want something bad enough to keep at it.

 

The Griffin Program was a large part of your TCNJ life. Can you speak a little to how the program changed you as a person?

I owe so much of who I am to the Griffin Program. When I started this program, I was stuck. I didn’t have any confidence. I constantly got down on myself. I didn’t feel like I belonged here. This program has shown me my passions; it has given my so many wonderful people; it has given me a chance to prove to myself and others that you really can do anything you set your mind to. I wouldn’t have the confidence or determination I do if I had not been a part of this program.

 

Any advice for an incoming transfer?

This question gave me chills. I would tell my transfers the same advice I gave you and all the other students I was lucky enough to have. I would tell the transfer, you get out of TCNJ what you put into TCNJ. If you want this to be the best experience of your life, it will be. But you have to go for it. You have to take every opportunity you are given. You have to say yes as much as you can. You have to just go for it because you never know when “just going for it” might lead you to everything you ever wanted.

 

How did you feel doing everything for the last time?

I am a very sentimental person, but I like to think we save the best for last. That we kind of save the best shot for our last shot. So, doing everything for the last time is more like doing everything for the best time.

 

Is there anyone in particular that you want to thank?

My mom and dad for not giving up on me and for loving me even when I made things difficult. My brother for pushing me to have a good time and be happy. My sister for constantly being a source of inspiration in my life and for making me a better person. My sorority for giving me a launch pad to my success at this school. TJ Brannin for keeping me grounded. Grace Hawruk for reminding me I can do anything. Kelsey Peterson and Laura Brennan for being my family here at TCNJ and my lifelong friends. My first friends at TCNJ — you know who you are — thank you for everything. Devan and Lindsay for being the best role models a girl could ask for.  The 2018 Griffins, you guys rock. And my former transfer students, (shout out to Jamie, Olivia, and Lexy), thank you letting me be part of your lives — I love the people you have become, and I would not be here without you. And every transfer student and person who has pushed me in some way, whether it be positive or negative — thank you. I would not have been able to do all of this without these people.