It feels like just yesterday I was packing up and moving back on campus for my final year of college, and then there I was , putting on my cap and gown and getting ready to walk across the stage and receive my diploma. It didn’t seem real that it was time to pack up my stuff for the final time and move out for good. I sit here writing this and I still cannot believe that college is over. It amazes me how quickly the time passed, and now I truly understand why people tell you not to take it for granted, to be present, and to enjoy your college years.
It is a time we complain about homework and tests, stay up too late, and spend too much time procrastinating. It is a time we say we can’t wait to end, but once it does we find out just how much we will miss it. That’s the thing, we never realized we were making memories until we look back and remember those late nights with friends the most, the times we cried on each other’s shoulders, and the spontaneous outings when we didn’t want to study. We didn’t realize how good we had it, being around friends 24/7 and having them right in the next room or down the hall. We can’t seem to appreciate the time we had and the freedom and the memories until it’s just about to end, until you put on your cap and gown and feel the weight of the impact this school and these people have had on you. You don’t see it or feel it until the final moments when it hits you that this is real, this is ending, you’re about to cross the stage, receive your degree and move onto whatever is next.
Graduation day was the day I long awaited and one that ended too quickly. I keep having moments where I just want to go back and wake up that morning and do it all over again, to really take each moment in and really hear the words that were spoken that day. To be present with my fellow graduates around me and to embrace those finals moments one more time.
Not only did the day of graduation fly by so quickly, but the four years passed by seemingly in the blink of an eye. The night before graduation, I tried on my cap and gown, staring at myself in the mirror in my empty room, and I was brought back to a memory of when I visited Roberts for my freshman orientation the July before starting college. We got to stay in a dorm room that night to give us a small glimpse of what life would look like in a few short months, and I remember being so excited as Katie and I spent our first night as roommates as a preview of what was to come. I remember laying there that night, and as I tried to go to sleep I remember staring at the empty white walls around me and feeling the oncoming anxiety and the weight of fear as my life was really about to change more than it ever had before.
As I stared back at myself wearing my cap and gown and reliving that night so long ago in an empty dorm room, I was in shock at how far I had come, and now I was standing here in an empty dorm room for the last time, about to walk across that stage and graduate. When I thought back to little freshman Becca who was so excited but so scared to walk into change and begin this journey, I realized I was now looking at a much older and more mature Becca who, once again, is so excited but also scared to walk into a new change and begin the next chapter, the next journey. She has grown up so much, learned so much, and has become such a changed person because of this school and these people. More than anything, she has learned the importance of self-discovery and being authentic in a world that tries to make you into something else.
I walked across the stage that day, with all the people I love the most there to support me, and I felt really, incredibly lucky and blessed to have been able to call Roberts my home for the past four years, to have had wonderful, caring professors who wanted to see me succeed, and for a community of people who brought out the best in me and helped me to believe in myself and who I could become. I am proud of what I accomplished, and although I am walking into a time of change and the blank canvas that is the future, I am looking forward to finding out what the next journey will look like.