I am going to give a quick update regarding some exciting things that have happened to me in the last week and then I will close my final blog with a reflection on my time here at Saint Xavier.
Last Wednesday, I attended the College of Arts and Sciences Award Ceremony and was named an Outstanding Communication Student of 2016! It was such an honor to receive this award from the Communication Department. While I do work very hard in my courses and with student media, anyone that knows me well knows that I am very hard on myself and my work. I rarely consider myself or anything I do to be good, let alone outstanding. So, this award and the fact that my professors see my work as outstanding means more to me than I could ever express!
Additionally on Friday, we celebrated my mom’s retirement. She has been principal of Beecher Elementary School for the past 15 years and has accomplished so much in that time. I am beyond proud of her and excited to celebrate this new phase of her life! So much of my success at Saint Xavier is a result of her love and support (and money), so I am so happy to be able to celebrate her.
I am about five days away from graduation as I type this blog. Everything seems surreal at this point. While the last four years have been some of the most difficult of my life, it still feels like I moved into my freshman dorm yesterday.
As I reflect on my time at Saint Xavier, I am flooded with so many thoughts and memories. My freshman year was one of the most fun and exciting years of my life. I made some amazing friends and memories that I still look back on and laugh or smile about to this day. It was a whole new world for my sister and I.
When tragedy struck our family just a few weeks after we returned home for the summer, our lives changed forever. After losing my father suddenly, I knew I didn’t have the strength to return to SXU in the fall. But something pushed me back, carried me back. Losing my dad has made every day since a painful struggle. My sophomore year, I cried to my mom on the phone every single day about how badly I wanted to quit and come home. Yet, everyday I would wake up, get dressed and go to class, completing tasks successfully one after another as if someone else was doing them for me. I know now that is was my dad who has been carrying me through the last three years, which is why graduation will be the most bittersweet day of my life thus far. This will be the first major event that my dad will miss. I began this journey with him by my side as I cried when they left me on my own for the first time. I end this journey walking across the stage with one very important audience member missing. He should be here — not just to support Ally and I, but because so much of this accomplishment belongs to him. Yet, deep inside I know he would be so proud and ecstatic about all that we have accomplished. He was our biggest fan. So, as I walk across the stage on Saturday, I know that someone very special is walking with me, just as he always has. I can firmly and proudly say…this is for you, dad.
Thank you to everyone who has played a role, big or small, in getting me to this day. Thank you to my mom, my siblings and my friends for supporting me and keeping me laughing during some of the most dark and difficult times. Thank you to the SXU community for teaching me, helping me find my voice and passion, and giving me a platform on which to speak my mind and share my life for the last four years! It has been a pleasure sharing my experiences with you through this blog. Congratulations to the class of 2016, enjoy this moment! Once a Cougar, always a Cougar!
Until next time…