Senior Reflection | A love letter to the place I never wanted to be 

I arrived at college burnt out and scared. A 2020 high school grad, my peers and I were forced to transition from one major milestone unexpectedly. A global pandemic had scarier implications, but not having a senior prom or a traditional graduation ceremony made me feel like Peter Pan. It didn’t feel like I was really growing up. 

I never dreamt I would attend UCCS, my hometown is only 45 miles away in Canon City and I dreamt of leaving for a fancy out-of-state school as soon as possible. I chose Cazenovia College, a tiny private school in Cazenovia, NY that offered me a sizeable scholarship.  

At Caz there were less than 800 students on our little campus. It wasn’t as overwhelming like bigger schools can be, but we weren’t allowed in each other’s dorms or cars, or to do anything that qualifies normal freshman year activities. Despite my scholarship, I was paying a lot to live in a dingy dorm in a town smaller than where I grew up. Not to mention, my on-again, off-again high school boyfriend really wanted me to move back to Colorado.  

I’ve given myself a lot of grief over the years for moving so close to home and quitting my studio art degree. I only stopped torturing myself over it when I learned last year Cazenovia College closed for good in 2023. If I had stayed, I would have been left to find a new college and finish my degree in a completely different place.  

I took that as a divine sign to let it go, but the first two years I spent at UCCS were saturated with the guilt of moving back to Colorado. For a year or two I just gave up, I had terrible friends who thought college was dumb. I was trying to “get the piece of paper” and pretend like I thought it was dumb too. I was isolated and had terrible influences. I spent a lot of time disappointed that I ended up somewhere I never dreamt I would.  

After a year and a half of that, I took a class called Writing for the Media. I always thought journalism sounded boring, I just needed the COMM credit. The girl I sat next to turned to talk to me and asked me to be her partner for our first assignment.  

Nobody has made me feel braver than my project partner and now-best friend, Ella. I am endlessly grateful for her ability to empower those around her, and for her invitations to campus events that drew me out of my tendency to isolate. 

Ella and I applied to the Scribe after the semester ended and started our student journalism journey together. As it turned out, journalism wasn’t boring, it was one of the first things I ever felt naturally good at.  

While my time at the Scribe has been spent writing for the Features section, I feel strongly about being a voice for the community and a watchdog for the consumer. I’ve spent my time at the Scribe trying to make features stories about issues that will resonate with students, and it’s been an honor to begin my career writing for a campus that I’ve come to love more than I ever anticipated.  

I am so proud to have been a part of our organization, it allowed me to travel places I’ve never been, implement my ideas, and meet one of my closest friends and Editor in Chief, Paul. His trust in my vision and his mentorship have made me a better writer, and the opportunities I’ve been given made me confident in my choice to pursue journalism after graduation. 

Working at the Scribe made me the happiest I’ve ever been after high school. It’s made me think about correlation and causation…Being part of student media required me to become interested in the campus, attend events (at the very least to cover them for articles), and interview students and faculty who I normally wouldn’t have a chance to interact with.  

I was forced to partake in student life, and joy flooded into my world again when I became involved in my community.  

I lived with the mindset that I would be involved with the world around me after I got my degree and moved somewhere else – when my life really began. The most important lesson I can impart is that your life is happening right now!  

I know too well how easy it is to rot in your bedroom rather than face an uncomfortable social situation – but you cannot keep staying home and simultaneously wonder why you have no friends.  

Learn to separate legitimate discomfort from feeling sorta weird. Sometimes you’ll feel weird! It might even be a little embarrassing. The people you need will come closer rather than draw away. 

I’ll make you a promise right now; you will regret things. Without a doubt, your senior year you’ll wish you minored in something or joined a club or realize you overlooked something interesting. Years down the line though, it will take so much more to regret time spent going out (like a drinking problem or projectile vomiting in someone’s home), but it takes so little to realize that you wasted formative years because you were too scared to challenge your comfort zone. The time will pass anyway, don’t spend it scared AND alone. 

Don’t mistake my sanguine reflection for a finger wagging though, the mistakes I’m warning you about are ones I made. Only five months ago I laid in my bed, completely terrified about the major leap I was going to make into the unknown. I left an amazing job for a new internship, became an editor for the Scribe, and said a final goodbye to my high school boyfriend.  

Days ago, I found myself in my room crying again. This time I was full of joy rather than fear. I cried about the exciting but uncertain future, but I’ve learned I can trust myself to make the right choice. 

There are some things so good you wouldn’t even know how to ask for them, they’ll only come when you’re not ready. They’re waiting for you on the other side of the enormous change you’re trying to avoid. 

People have passed in and out of my life in the past four years, many of whom I think of often and fondly. After years of being too scared to put myself out there, a brave girl’s first move to befriend me made my world brighter. We’ve found even more friends by being brave enough to keep making the first move.  

My friends indulge me in silliness and bring me more joy than I ever thought possible, the way friends should. Time with them energizes and inspires me, and I no longer sit alone in my room, afraid and alone. My heart is so full of love and gratitude for the people who see me, hear me, and who have read my writing and felt something because of it.