College: You Will and You Can

Ciara Sweatman

I am going to miss this school.

Yes, I know. I’m being like every other sappy senior here at IC who gets sentimental because it’s spring. But really, I’m going to miss it here.

Everyone has their own experiences, but I think there are some universal themes that we can all agree on and relate to when we look back and cherish our time at college. The community of classmates and professors, the warmth of relationships, the tough classes, and the easy ones.

IC1So here I am, at the end of my college story, delving into the archives of my memory…

I remember pulling out of my grandma’s driveway on a warm August day, and my dad called out from the front door to “Dive in!” I drove my 96 Honda to the Freshman lot across from Bruner and thankfully had a text waiting for me from one of the friends I met at orientation to meet her in the cafeteria. I was so nervous and unsure—about myself, about my peers, and especially about those scary upper classmen.

And I still remember all of my first classmates, four years ago sitting in the late Dr. Maye’s freshman seminar class on Personal Excellence in Sturtevant 103. Every morning at 8 a.m., we stared sleepily at him as he shared his wealth of knowledge to us about life. He was an amazing individual, and inspired us to be the same. We were in the presence of excellence, and he taught us to set the bar high for ourselves as we continued our education as sophomores, juniors, and seniors. I remember he said to me, “You will blink, and four years will go by.”

And they have. They have gone by. Some semesters went by smoothly and my classes gelled together perfectly, creating the ideal schedule of 12 p.m. classes and work and activities just a couple nights a week. And then there were the tougher semesters, with two 300 level literature courses, 100 pages of reading a night, and no time for anything else. I think we’ve all been there at some point.

But it has all made me into who I am today. Every class, every struggle, every presentation, every mid-term, every frustrating group project. It has molded me and shaped me and sculpted me so I can stand here today, with a proud posture and chin high, eyes wide ready to take in and take on everything I can.Rambler 015

Because you don’t just learn about Freytag’s pyramid and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in college. You learn about who you are and what you can do. You CAN finish that 20 page seminar paper on Dante. You CAN get an A in an Environmental Science course, even though you’re an English major. And you CAN successfully pass all of the three exams you have next week.

You teach yourself that you can.

So in May, I will be a graduate of Illinois College, but I will also be a graduate of adversity and triumph, struggles and achievement, and all of the wonderful memories in between.

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