I’m ready to leave.

The scary thought sneaks its way into my head while I file papers. My feet have dragged across this campus for years. I’ve been a student of life here. I created an attitude, and a determination in Newspaper meetings. I learned how to argue by speaking with the financial aid department. I learned how to love a friend in the small rooms of Spangenberg Hall.

How can I want to leave?

When I stepped on campus my first day, I envisioned being here, at the top of the precipice of my senior year. Over the hump and counting days until graduation, I expected to be dragged away, claws nestled snuggly in the carpet of the Veritas office. I expected tears, and anguish. My first day, I expected to infuse my education with a world-renowned faith; but something else infinitely unexpected seeped into my veins from an surprising source—a small corner suite in the 3rd floor of Gardner Hall. There, I got something even more invaluable and it came effortlessly.

I found four people who changed the course of my life. Dr. Henck taught me to be myself—unapologetically, and fight for the things I believe in no matter who stands up to blockade you. Dr. Krejci-Papa taught me that love, kindness, and intelligence are a trifecta that makes a woman unbeatable; she taught me that Thomas More was one of a kind and so am I. Prof. Fitzgerald taught me that journalism is the truth. Prof. Artinian moseyed into the department and showed me that persistence, fun, dedication, and patience are the foundations of a publisher, editor, and a person.

Have you ever not known who you are? You’re 5’5″, brown curly hair, straight teeth, but who are you? What do you stand for? What do you love? Will it change in four years?

I know who I am now. I’m 5’5″. I still have curly brown hair and straight teeth. I’m a feminist, scholar, leader, teacher, and compassionate friend. I love poetry, post-modern memoirs, Kate Chopin, and sticky rice. I don’t let anyone intimidate me. I seek the truth. Opera is interesting, but ballet steals my heart. An English Department in a small school in Quincy, Massachusetts, will be the most exotic, heart-warming, incredible place I’ll travel.

I’ll not be dragged off campus kicking and screaming. I’ll never truly leave this place, because I’ll never leave myself.  I will, however, cross the stage, twirl my honors cords, shake Dr. McGee’s hand and walk confidently into my future.