Moving to the next chapter

I’ve been in this spot many times before. I type away in the dim light, my desk covered in papers, post-its, and books all illuminated by the tranquil glow of my computer screen. But this time, instead of writing a paper, I’m writing my goodbye to Castleton, a place I’ve come to know as home.
I began here in the Fall of 2012. I have worked harder than I ever thought possible. I attended school year-round, earned scholarships, aced every test, and now I’m graduating summa cum laude at the end of my sixth semester with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
To top that, I’ve received three job offers prior to graduation. I’ve accepted and started a position as an e-commerce analyst at Puma North American Headquarters in Massachusetts.
As I glance over at my regalia hanging on the wall and hope for the wrinkles to flee before May 17, I think about everything I’ve accomplished and how much I’ve grown here in this amazing place. But then I realize what I’ll remember most isn’t any of that – it’s the people.
Twenty years from now, I won’t remember the answers to tests or the papers I wrote. What I will remember are the amazing individuals I’ve met on this journey through higher education.
I’ll remember talking with my communication department professors while nestled into my semi-permanent home in the communication lounge. I’ll remember the students I’ve grown intellectually with. I’ll remember coming up with cartoon ideas for The Spartan with the newspaper crew. I’ll remember conversations with President Dave Wolk that ultimately changed the course of my life for the better.
Life doesn’t happen in a silo nor does success. I never could have accomplished as much as I have without significant support from family, friends, and professors – particularly Bob Gershon and the rest of the communication department faculty. I am forever grateful for the support and encouragement I’ve received from these remarkable people.
If I could give one piece of advice to students and graduates, I would say that fear should never be the reason you don’t do something. As soon as you leave your comfort zone and start pushing beyond your boundaries, you redefine yourself for the better. Never be afraid to begin something out of fear of failure, embarrassment, or inadequacies. If you’re going to fail, fail harder. The only failure that’s 100 percent certain is the failure from not trying.
As I say goodbye, I realize the end of this chapter only marks the beginning of the next. Although I’ll no longer wander the halls or study in the communication lounge, a piece of me will always be at Castleton and a piece of Castleton will always be with.

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