Allison Thornton | Friday, May 13, 2022
Where to even begin. To me, graduating from college was always something that I thought about, but I never really prepared myself for this moment. Now, I am forcing myself to face the inevitable. It seems like yesterday I was graduating from high school, and now I am graduating from college. Seriously, where did the time go? This will sound cliche, but I blinked and four years went by. What college has taught me is to appreciate the little moments in life, especially during senior year. I have tried my best to take in every last second of my volleyball career, Notre Dame football games, late-night chats with my roommate and my time at The Observer.
As I was trying to figure out what I would write for my final column for The Observer, I remembered a common theme from Maeve Filbin’s, the Saint Mary’s News Editor in 2020 and the Assistant Managing Editor in 2021, commencement column. She wrote about how she never felt lonely at Saint Mary’s. While I was reading it, I couldn’t help but ask myself if I have ever felt lonely on the Saint Mary’s campus. And I couldn’t. What I will miss the most about college is the random chats with friends in between classes or the last-minute dinner in the dining hall where you end up sitting with friends till closing unplanned. Because of those moments, I have created friendships that will last a lifetime, and it is hard to think that when August rolls around, those people will be in a different place.
There is a lot of emotion about graduation. I didn’t know how emotional it would be until it became a reality. You feel everything from excitement to fear. It is more of the latter for me because I’m not sure what the future holds. I believe that it is vital to express being scared or overwhelmed about what happens next. It is normal, and most of all, everyone feels this way. They may not show it or may not even talk about it, but underneath they too are freaking out. And that is okay. It’s hard to know what you want to do for the rest of your life at 21 or 22. If anything, what I have learned the most about the last few weeks of school is that no one has it figured out, even if you think they do. Graduation is the same for everyone, and we should just be happy for one another for completing this chapter in our lives.
Now, on to the sentimental portion of this column. I would like to first thank my family for their constant support throughout this time in my life. Mom, Dad, Talia and Alex: Thank you for always encouraging me to do what I enjoy and helping me become the young woman you have raised me to be. I would also like to thank my Grandma Thomas for encouraging my secondary education and helping me attend the college that I am so proud to be graduating from. Thank you. To all the professors, Dr. Majetic, Dr. Elder and Dr. Geislar, I thank you for pushing me outside my comfort zone to become the student and young woman I am today. I cannot express enough how much your mentorship and guidance has influenced me throughout my time here at Saint Mary’s. You all have been incredible role models of female representation in academia and shown me to follow my passions. Thank you.
To my friends, where do I even begin! You guys will forever be in my life, and I can’t wait to see where the future takes you! I will forever be grateful to my first and second-year roommates, Hannah and Grace, for our late nights of laughter and vent sessions. To Niamh, my first friend at Saint Mary’s, I am so glad we bonded at the pre-Domer fest Undertones concert because I don’t know what I would have done without your kind spirit throughout college. To Lauren, Catherine and Kaley, thank you for always being able to make me smile. I knew if I was having a bad day, I could always come back to the room and laugh for hours with you guys. Finally, to Shannon, thank you for being the most supportive friend during our final year at Saint Mary’s. It has meant the world to me to see you at my volleyball games and watch our favorite period dramas together. I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate in our final year of college. Last but not least, thank you to Club 308 for always being excited to be featured in the photo poll. I knew I could always count on you for fun answers. Also, thank you for accepting me into your friend group; I have loved getting to know you. Snighty forever.
Out of my four years of college, I have been fortunate to play volleyball at Saint Mary’s and be the Photo Editor at The Observer. Being a student athlete and a part of The Observer have been two of the biggest things I am most proud of during my college career. The people I have played and worked with helped me to understand who I am as a person. Whether it was coming back from a tournament drained and tired or leaving South Dining at two o’clock in the morning, I never once wished I was somewhere else. The people on the court and in The Observer office had quickly become my home during my time at Saint Mary’s. I will miss both dearly.
I know the future is intimidating and it is coming faster than we have all expected. Living through a polar vortex, political division and a global pandemic during our four years of college will be great stories to tell our grandchildren one day. Congratulations to the Class of 2022. We did it.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.