Dear Her Campus,
When I found you, I was lost. I was afraid of the uncertainty of college and the lack of structure surrounding me. I didn’t know who I was or who I wanted to be. I felt out of place and out of control. I don’t know where I would be without you. I don’t know who I would be.
How can I say goodbye to something that has become my world? In my three years of studies, I have learned all I can, but I have not learned how to say goodbye. How do I say goodbye to the girls who have become my family? The girls who have become my home. Never would I have believed the immense amount of strength, will, and beauty (inside and out) that I would be surrounded by daily. The Her Campus girl gang truly is the most special one in the world. It is an honor to have had the opportunity to lead Virginia Tech’s chapter. It has been an honor to share my experiences in writing. To have been given such a supportive and uplifting outlet to share my work with individuals who are listening and want to hear what I have to say is incredible. I don’t know when I will find another group like this. I don’t know if I ever will.
Thank you, Her Campus, for showing me the strength I held inside this entire time. I don’t know if I would have found it on my own. Thank you for connecting me with the most determined group of girls from whom I have learned every day. Thank you for bringing me lifelong friends. The girls with whom I will share the rest of my life. The girls with whom I have laughed and cried. The girls who have shaped my college experience and who will forever inspire me. Every single person Her Campus has brought into my life has changed me for the better. It truly is an honor to be part of such an unbelievable organization.
Although I don’t know where my path will lead next, I stand sure in the fact that I am prepared for anything I could possibly face. Her Campus has taught me grace and composure even amidst trials and tribulations. No matter what, I know to keep my chin high and to keep moving forward. I fear not what the next chapter will bring, for I know how far I have already come and can only imagine how much further I will go. With this group of girls at my side, I know I can get through anything no, matter how big or small.
I am trying not to be sad while writing this last article, but it’s hard not to be. I know that I am in no way going to lose this organization after I graduate, but I can’t help but anticipate the hole I will feel in my heart in two weeks. I am going to miss the laughter and smiles I see each chapter meeting. I am going to miss the banter and random conversation in our group chats. I am going to miss the quick hugs before we walk our separate ways when seeing each other on campus. I am even going to miss the scramble of writing an article last minute that I didn’t realize was due. Every second in this organization has taught me that, while I will continue to remain imperfect, there are girls out there who will support me daily through everything that life may throw at me. I will have no better friends in the world than the ones I made here. As I look back on all the memories I’ve made, I know that I will truly never be ready to let Her Campus go. But, I also know that Her Campus has given me every opportunity, lesson, and experience I need to be successful. Every girl out there deserves a community where they feel welcome, wanted, and heard. My only hope is that every member that will come after me has the same experience, if not better than I have.
In thirty or however many years, when my kids ask about what college was like, Her Campus is what I’m going to remember. I am going to remember the most encouraging group of girls with whom I spent three years of my life learning with and from. I am going to remember the most supportive creative outlet I’ve ever witnessed. I am going to remember feeling loved, valued, and respected. I am going to remember how powerful I felt. I am going to remember speaking up and sharing my voice, even when I didn’t know if people would listen. I am going to remember that college had its fair share of struggles and that there were plenty of times where I wanted to give up, but I didn’t because of the girls who supported me.
My college experience was in no way perfect, but I don’t think there is anything that I would change. Every single thing has shaped me into the woman I am today, and I am proud of who I have become. I am proud of every single woman I stood next to. I am proud of the stories we have shared, the voices that are now heard, and the campus we have changed. None of this would have been possible without Her Campus, and for that, I am forever grateful. The treatment of women in this country and its institutions still has a long journey ahead, but I stand strong knowing this group is diligently working toward change. Every day our voices are being heard, and slowly but surely we are creating change. I know that Her Campus will be a part of me forever. I will cherish every memory I made here with these girls for the rest of my life. You will never meet a group of stronger and more determined women, and I will stand by that fact. Her Campus, thank you for creating this outlet for us and for giving us a platform to make our voices heard. The time I have spent here has changed my life forever, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You have taught me the meaning of resilience and strength. I will carry the lessons I have learned here with me wherever I go in life. I am so glad I found you. I will remember you always. Thank you for everything.
Love always, Ashley Son