If you’ve talked to any senior lately, you’ll know that we all have this weird paradox where we often talk about our plans after Augustana (grad school, finding a job, going abroad, etc.) yet we keep denying that we’re graduating in May. I’ll admit, sometimes I’m the stereotypical senior that complains about wanting more time here and wanting senior year to go by really slow so I can truly enjoy it. But, I’m not a wizard, so I can’t make that happen. Instead, now that my senior year is almost half over, I’ve started reflecting on some of the best things Augie has given me or has taught me. The list is incredibly long, but I’ll highlight a few here.
1. It gave me some of the best friends I’ve ever had. I know that’s 100% predictable and cheesy, but it’s really true. And not only are they there for moral support and to help me when I’m stressed, but they also do things like invite me over for mac and cheese or ask me if I want to go to the farmer’s market in Davenport almost every weekend or tell me when my outfit’s a hot mess. With these friends, I have walked into massive spider’s webs, won Harry Potter trivia competitions, and cried when our favorite tv show characters broke up. I have had some of the most odd, crazy relationships here, but they were all fun nonetheless. So a special shout-out to Catie N, Ryan S, Jessie Z, Amy P, Hannah K, Eleanor N, and Alli B. You guys have accepted all my odd quirks, and I can’t thank you enough for making me feel like a part of something as wonderful as this. I know I’ll be there for the important times of your lives to come, and you will be there for mine.
2. It gave me sisters. I have one sister-in-law at home, but we aren’t very close. So, I’ve always wanted sisters. I found them in my sorority. I never felt truly alone walking through campus, because I could always guarantee that I would see at least 1 smiling face on the way to class, or I would always have someone to sit with in the brew and do homework, or someone to grab lunch with. Especially with my pledge class, although I don’t hang out with each one of you all the time, I know if I asked you to do something with me like dinner or shopping or a hike, any one of you would say yes in a heartbeat. I’m really thankful for that.
3. I have had to step up in so many different places in my life. I had to buckle down and work extra hard on my academics junior year when I switched majors and had to “catch up,” per se. I learned that working really hard for a couple hours with no breaks paid off when you got to go home and have the rest of your night. I can proudly say I have not pulled even 1 all-nighter to finish my homework. So, Augie, thanks for teaching me to manage my time in order to be able to sleep at night! I also stepped up to the position of President of our school’s psychology honor society chapter, Psi Chi. If you had told me freshman year that I would one day be a President of a group, I would’ve had a deer-in-the-headlights look for at least 5 full minutes. I never would’ve believed that I would have the drive to step up to something like that. Thank you also to all the professors who believed in me too, and told me I could do all of these things.
4. I have grown so much as a person. Just ask a few of my friends freshman year (who thankfully have stuck by me), I wasn’t always the best at dealing with conflicts in relationships (no, Ryan, you’re not allowed to comment about it). Thankfully, I have people who love me enough to tell me when I’m not being fair–both to others and to myself. I have learned that not everything is someone else’s fault; it’s important to own up to my own faults as well. I have learned to be more patient (although I could always get better at that) and realize that we all have a lot on our plates, especially coming to a school like this, where everyone is involved in a couple majors/minors, clubs, athletics, jobs, etc. It’s not that my friends and I never get into arguments. It’s just that we now know how to handle them better and approach them in a way that won’t end a friendship over something so small.
5. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder. Every break, I am usually texting/calling my friends a few times, and I get so excited when I see them again. I now realize this will be a test for the real world. When we graduate, we all have different plans. I hopefully will be moving to grad school, some friends are going abroad potentially, some trying to find jobs. We won’t be able to see each other a ton…it’ll be like extended breaks from school. (; Two of my friends will be going to Australia following this winter break, and I am going to miss them LIKE CRAZY. But, I know I can Facebook message them here and there on their trip, and they know I am so excited to hear about their adventures when they get back. Although I’m going to miss them, I know this is an experience of a lifetime for them, and they will gain so, so much from this. So, I can’t be too selfish with missing them. (:
This is a pretty long blog post, so I’ll end it there. If you’re reading this as a senior, I hope you’ll look back on your 3.5 years so far and count the things you’re thankful you had the opportunity to experience. If you’re a junior, sophomore, first year, TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY you can to strengthen your relationships with your friends and professors, to strengthen your relationship with yourself, and to enjoy yourself. I know academics are so, so important–believe me, I know. I’m actually going to keep writing my SI after this. But, college is also the BEST place to find lifelong friends, to figure out what your dreams are, and to do some stupid things. So go–go get Steak N Shake at 3 in the morning, even though you have class early (still go to class though). You’ll remember that night more than you’ll remember being a little sleepy the next day. Because eventually, don’t you want to be able to tell your kids or grandkids or friends or whomever that you loved your college experience? That you don’t regret anything?
I still remember singing “Don’t Stop Believing” at 2 am in the hallway with my best friend freshman year. Although I don’t really recommend you do that (people like to sleep), I recommend you go out and find your own “snapshot” memories.
Posted on December 7th, 2015 by jenniferotwell12
Filed under: Jennifer Otwell | 2 Comments »