So here I am. Four years later, I have officially completed college. All I have left to do is make the short walk across a stage. It seems so simple…but it’s so much more than that. With that quick walk, I come closer to leaving behind my first home. Not the home my parents influenced. But the home and life I chose, built and established for myself. Walking across that stage, each step was a bittersweet reminder of the time I’ve had here at LSU. Writing it down simply makes everything real for me. As our alma mater will tell you, “Forever LSU”.
Right left right left right left. Too fast. Slow down. I’ve been telling myself that for the past five months. Time seems to go away when you realize you want more. I figured this out the past year, each month going by more quickly. I just want a few more weeks at home.
Even if just to be with my classmates, my peers, those who I can now call my friends.
To be with the friends I call family.
To be with the family who invited me to Thanksgiving dinner..and then to join the family photo.
Time with the ones who invited me to spring break in Washington DC…and then played tour guide for three days.
Time with my coworkers I have come to know and love.
Most of all, I want time with the people I have lived with for the past three years. I don’t need a stroll across the stage to remind me that I can no longer call them my roommates. They know me better than anyone, are closer than friends and I love them like family.
The art of forming instantaneous friendships is a right of passage in college. And it’s a skill I perfected…mainly because I had no choice. Sure, it may be common and could very well fall apart. But the friendships are character building, necessary and represent what college is all about: A social life, obviously.
When we came to LSU, we knew no one. And looking back on these friendships, I’m glad. I was forced out of my comfort zone in a brutal way. I was able to find people I bonded with, some I no longer call friends. Yet others that I know will be in my life forever. Not only did I find and build myself a surrogate family, they helped me figure out who I was and am. I became more confident in myself, more sure of who I am and what I stand for.
Not as common, is that we stayed friends for years. The perks of going to a big school are meeting a large variety of people. And after doing so, it became apparent to all of us that we would remain close because there was no one better.
We’ve built our lives at LSU, established our homes in Baton Rouge. For the Manship School of Mass Communication class of 2014, this is it. It’s the last time we will all be together. The labels of acquaintance, classmate, coworker and friend are irrelevant. Graduates is more than appropriate. And we stand together as one group. Friend or not, we deserve to walk together.
Right. Within the confines of the buildings.
Left. In our classrooms.
Right. In Middleton library.
Right. In Tiger Land.
Left. In the quad.
Right. Life happened. We earned our degree, earned the right to move on and to start being adults.
Left. We arrived at LSU ready, eager and excited for our futures. We came with aspirations and goals and dreams of the future. We aimed to leave in four years…and we’ve done it.
Right. I leave LSU the same way I came in. Anxious, excited, eager and uncertain.
Right. I couldn’t be more grateful, more proud, than I am right now.
Left. My diploma, my little sheet of paper, doesn’t just symbolize the past four years, yet next 50 as well.
Forever LSU, indeed.