Friday, July 9, 2010

My Senior FinalThought for the Grizzly Newspaper

With graduation peeking around the corner, I cannot help but reflect upon the past four years here at Ursinus, and how I ended up being the person I am, in the place I am, today. With that in mind, I feel that it is my necessary duty to thank those persons who helped me grow into this strong, understanding, independent woman; a woman who is prepared to take on the real world. To whom do I owe this preparation? Well, I’d have to say my Ursinus friend. But, the Ursinus friend is not just a single person. My Ursinus friend is the professor who pushed me to be the best student possible, the roommate who showed me what it means to be humble, and last but not least, the fellow UC Ambassador who brought out the real Helen Ann. Are these specific people? Absolutely not. My Ursinus friend represents each and every person who falls into these categories and changed my life for the better over these past four years. As I explain my experiences with these lovely, admirable people, I would like you to ponder over how these people may also have influenced you thus far in your own life.

Without you, the Ursinus professor, I am not sure if I would be as driven and motivated to succeed in all aspects of my life. You continued to guide me and open countless doors of opportunities. Your endless pushing and challenging forced me to perform to the best of my capabilities, past my wildest expectations. You showed me that there are people out there, besides my parents, who truly believe that I can succeed. When my writing started to slack and illustrated less than my maximum potential, you, my Ursinus friend, sat me down and slapped me across the face with a wake-up call; slacking and not striving for my best was not going to get me anywhere. You uncovered a wealth of potential in me that I couldn’t find. I will no longer scramble in the dark, trying to find a path of success. Your candle of compassion and guidance will always lead the way.

When I was not learning from you in class, my Ursinus friend, I was learning from you in my dorm room. For the first time in my life, I woke and went to sleep with someone else in the room. I spent every free minute in between classes with a complete stranger. Yet, as I began to adjust my habits to cooperate with my roommate’s, I realized my own individual flaws. I appreciate your seemingly polite, indirect way of humbling me. Because of you, I now recognize that despite my previous conceptions of myself, I am, believe it or not, imperfect. Along with pointing out my imperfections comes my newfound consideration for the needs of others. As much as you helped me grow, Ursinus friend, I find myself wanting to help you achieve happiness in return. Instead of going to bed when I’m finished my work, I feel the urge to stay up and support you while you struggle to complete that 10 page paper at 3am. Why? Well, when my Ursinus friend is happy, I am happy. It’s as simple as that. Even though the face of my Ursinus roommate has changed over these past four years, I consider each and every one of you my Ursinus friend.

Of course, I cannot forget the Ursinus friend who changed my life the most within these past few years: the Ursinus College Ambassador. From the first time I ever saw this group, with their royal blue polo’s and star pins, I knew that they had to be a part of my life. While I have always enjoyed leadership programs, I never quite experienced something so life-changing, so eye-opening, and as soul-searching as the Ambassador program. Putting all of the rewarding community service and volunteer work aside, the UC Ambassador made me dive into myself, discover the real me, and taught me how to accept and embrace that person. I can honestly say that I owe most of my leadership, social, and life skills to this special Ursinus friend. A UC Ambassador simply defines what it means to be a friend and change agent. This individual opened his/her heart to me, allowing me to feel what it means to be unconditionally loved. When I cried and exposed my deepest, darkest moments of my life, you did not judge, you did not even comment. Instead, you listened as you offered your shoulder for me to lean on. These are the true moments of friendship that will forever be remembered. These are the moments that define why I love and cherish my Ursinus friend.

On May 15, 2010, you, my Ursinus friend, will watch as I walk on to the stage in my cap and gown, accept the piece of paper that I earned with every part of my being, marking the commencement of my journey into the next chapter of my life. I would not have finished this past chapter without you. I would not be the strong, considerate, independent woman standing on that stage without the love and never-ending support from my Ursinus friend. Whether you were the professor who pushed me towards success, the roommate who kept me humble, the Ambassador who helped me discover the person I truly am, you changed me just by being my friend. This is my tribute to you. This is my sincere thank you.

We all have individual stories, experiences and moments that define our lives. My story is not complete. In fact, my story is just taking flight. Either way, as the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked suggests, “whatever way our stories end, I know you have rewritten mine, by being my friend.”

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