A year ago, I sat in the Chapel of Christ the Divine Teacher, listening intently and trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it was the last Mass of the school year. As I looked around, all I could see were seniors. I didn’t know many of them, but I still felt connected with each of them through our unity in our faith and through the family we all found at the CSC. As Fr. Rob gave his homily, he talked about how the seniors “need to go” and “can’t stay here forever.” And that’s when it really hit me. In just twelve months, I was going to be in this chapel as one of those seniors preparing to graduate.
So when it came time this year for baccalaureate mass, I found myself in the chapel once again, only this time I was receiving a Miraculous medal instead of helping to hand them out. It all happened so quickly. One moment we were talking, laughing, and taking pictures at the CSC, and the next I was sitting in Xfinity Center for main commencement. Even now, I still can’t believe that it’s already been a month since I graduated. Where did the time go!?
Looking back, I can confidently say that senior year was the best year of my life so far. I attribute that partly to getting involved in activities; I finished off four great years in Gemstone, continued working as a head coach for the Math Success Program, led Primannum Honor Society (the largest student organization on campus!), and spent a lot of time—perhaps too much time—at the CSC. Despite keeping myself so busy, I never truly felt stressed or forced to do something because I was pursuing activities that I was passionate about. I wanted to make senior year count, so I did more in the fall semester alone than what I did in the previous three years combined. Whether it was bowling, having music jam sessions, going to parties and formals, or spending countless hours playing table tennis in the Barney Room, I felt as if there was always something exciting happening. It seemed like just as one adventure ended, another began.
In many ways, life is like a choose-your-own-adventure book, except the possibilities are endless. Granted, some experiences might seem more exciting than others, but that doesn’t take away from any of the others. With how amazing senior year was, I wondered if things will ever be this great again. But graduation was simply the end of one adventure, with many more to come. And who’s to say the next one won’t be better than the last? While I can’t go back in life and choose a different page to flip to, I can pick up the next book and enjoy life for what it is—filled with challenges and obstacles to overcome, but also full of joy and excitement. As long as I keep a positive attitude going forward and trust in God to show me to way, I have nothing to fear.
They say your environment shapes you, that society shapes you, and that culture shapes you. I think, however, that people shape us the most—our friends and family, peers and coworkers, mentors and teachers. People come into your life in waves as you take on new jobs and embark on new journeys. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I look forward to finding out. I’m going to miss my friends the most out of everything I loved about College Park; but thanks to all of them, I can walk away with more wisdom, knowledge, and courage than I came in with. There’s always going to be a part of me that’s not ready to leave, but I know I can’t stay. Besides, everything is going to be okay—there are plenty of adventures out there waiting for me, and I’m ready to take them on.