I’ve spent so much time lately trying to figure out what I’m going to do when I graduate that I haven’t stopped long enough to realize that I actually am graduating, and that soon I’ll be leaving everything and everyone I’ve come to know and love throughout the past four years. All of this did, however, hit me earlier this week at the McNair dinner honoring graduating seniors. Even though the other McNair’s aren’t the people I spend the most time with, they are the group of people at USC who I’ve known the longest. At the dinner we were all exchanging post-college plans, and it was a little sad to realize that soon we’d all be headed off to completely different parts of the world (literally). After the dinner I had to write a short essay for the True Scholar publication, reflecting on my time at USC. Because life is so often compared to a journey and because I enjoy traveling and adventure so much, I decided to base my “essay” around that theme. It’s a little cheesy, but I want to share it with you here:
“When I finally pack up all my things and leave for the last time the old duplex in Five Points that has been my home for most of my college years, I know that I will be taking with me far more than I first brought here to Carolina four years ago. Mixed in with all the bags and boxes of dishes and clothes will be a wealth of knowledge, fond memories, fun adventures, and life lessons learned.
Slung over one shoulder will be a camera bag full of photography skills and lessons from my VisCom professors and classmates that helped me explore and develop my passion for photography and design. On the other shoulder I will carry a messenger bag full of good books and pages of important notes, reminding me of the things I learned in college, both in the classroom and out.
On my back will be a backpacker’s pack, stuffed with the adventures and misadventures of an American in Europe, learning how to adjust to life in a foreign country. The pack will be full of memories of studying in Italy, where I was finally able to use the Italian that I studied throughout college as an Italian minor. The pack will also be overflowing with the things I learned through the several trips to Slovakia I went on where I spent time helping with youth ministry, teaching English, and falling in love with the people and understated beauty of Central and Eastern Europe.
Close to my heart I will carry a box filled with my most treasured memories, those of the time spent with the amazing friends I made through classes, clubs, and the college ministry at my church here in Columbia. I will always remember the late-night conversations over a cup of coffee, the Saturdays spent cheering on the Gamecocks down at Williams-Brice, and the sunny spring days relaxing on the Horseshoe.
They say that life is a journey. If this is true, then I am confident that my four years here at Carolina have given me everything I will need for good travels throughout the rest of my life.”