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Wrapping It Up: Learning Lessons from a Graduating Senior

As I sit applying for spring graduation, the realization hits me like a ton of bricks: I'm about to graduate from college. College! Closing this chapter of my life still seems like a foreign concept, but it is very quickly approaching. The past five years have been a rollercoaster of emotions, experiences, and personal growth. It's hard to believe that my college journey is coming to an end, and it's even harder to put into words just how much it means to me.

First, I never expected to take a gap year in the middle of my college career.

In the beginning, college seemed like an endless maze of classes, assignments, and extracurriculars. I remember being a wide-eyed freshman, navigating the waters of independence and adulting in a city five hours away from my hometown. A few years later, my world turned upside down when I had to take a very impromptu medical-related leave of absence. The idea of having to alter my expectations for my collegiate career was very challenging, and it took me a while to come to terms with the grief of losing the events associated with that experience.

Fast forward to now, and I can proudly say that I've not only survived my fears but have thrived beyond my own expectations. College has been an incredible chapter in my life, and as I prepare to close it, I want to reflect on the many facets of my unique experience.

Academics, of course, played a significant role in my college years. I’ll certainly never forget the countless all-nighters, caffeine-fueled study sessions, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. From my first "Introduction to Animal Science" class to the more specialized courses in my major, I've learned not only about the subjects themselves but also about discipline, time management, and the art of multitasking.

College also taught me the invaluable skill of critical thinking. It encouraged me to question the world around me, to analyze and evaluate ideas, and to engage in thoughtful discussions with professors and peers. It's a skill that I know will serve me well in whatever path I choose to take next.

I've met incredible people from all walks of life, some of whom will remain lifelong friends. We shared laughter, late-night Cook Out runs, and the occasional existential crisis. College is where I discovered the importance of a support network, and I’m thankful to have found my people.

Extracurricular activities were a big part of my college life, too. Whether it was joining an organization, participating in volunteer work, or organizing events, I found fulfillment beyond the classroom. I was elected to three e-board positions for the same organization, the last being elected as President. Although my leave of absence resulted in the inability to serve in my position, I’ll never forget how proud I was to accomplish a goal that was previously beyond my own belief.

Of course, college wasn't all fun and games. There were many moments of stress, doubt, and uncertainty. Balancing academics, work, and social life was definitely a constant juggling act. However, it was during these times that I discovered my resilience, adaptability, and the importance of seeking help when needed.

As a graduating senior, I find myself at a crossroads. In the end, wrapping up my college experience is bittersweet. I'm saying goodbye to a place that has been my home and to people who have become my family. Simultaneously, I'm also saying hello to a new chapter in life, one filled with opportunities and adventures yet to be discovered. The future is uncertain, and the real world awaits with open arms and its own set of challenges. But I'm not leaving college empty-handed. I'm taking with me a toolbox filled with knowledge, skills, and a network of incredible individuals.

As I prepare to walk across the stage and receive my diploma, I can't help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. College has been a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and countless memories. I'm ready to take on the world, armed with the knowledge and experiences that have made me who I am today.

So here's to the graduating seniors of the world: Cheers to our hard-earned diplomas, our bright futures, and the memories we'll carry with us as we embark on this next chapter of our lives.

It's been an incredible ride, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

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