Mel's Graduation Weekend:
This year was Rutgers' 250th anniversary and I was so fortunate to be able to graduate in this celebratory period. To make this day even more special, President Barack Obama delivered our commencement address, making him the first sitting president to be a commencement speaker at Rutgers since the start of the university. The atmosphere and energy in the stadium that day was absolutely infectious, as many graduates, including myself, were overwhelmed with so many different emotions that ranged from excitement to anxiety, and even a little bit of sadness. I had a somewhat unconventional college experience since I commuted from my home my junior and senior year, however I still met some amazing people and made a few memories that I will cherish forever. (Shout out, to my best friend, Sherry, who I actually met my first day of freshman year!) I have learned a lot of lessons these past four years, some educational, while some were more geared toward life in general. Although I may not have recognized it back then, those experiences have definitely shaped more than a few of my decisions. College is a time of experimentation and self-exploration; it is a place where there are so many people to meet and things to do. However, like everything else in life, it is only temporary. Since my time as an undergraduate has come to an end, I would like to say thank you to all of my wonderful friends. Thank you for being my study buddies while we all struggled through our accounting classes together (AIS & Intermediate Crew forever!), thank you for those weekly lunch dates where we shared our weekend stories with each other, and thank you for being there to celebrate my accomplishments and for being my personal cheerleaders when life got a little rough. I may not have appreciated it all back then, I may have wished for these precious years to go by quicker because I was so earnest to get to my adult life, but now that it is all over, I am proud to say that I am and will always be a Scarlet Knight!
For my fellow graduates out there, I wish you congratulations, and for those who are either still in college or will be entering college soon, I would like to say good luck and be prepared for a rewarding and exciting experience, however, it is ok if college doesn't live up to the hype and is not the "best four years of your life" because the best is yet to come :)
College is a time when most people experience many firsts- first time living alone, first time being independent, first time deciding whether to skip class or not without a eye over your shoulder, and of course first loves and real relationships. My past four years have been filled with many firsts, but what I've learned is that these firsts stretch beyond our years on campus and that there are an infinite number of new things to experience from this moment on. It's kind of hard to believe how quickly 8 semesters and 3 summers have passed by, but I'm proud that I've lived every day in college to the fullest, surrounded by people who have influenced me and changed my perspective on friendship, love, drive, and passion. It all sounds a bit cliche, but I very much had the fullest college experience anyone could wish for, and I am thankful every day that I have you all in my life to laugh and cry with. In 1, 10, 50 years, from now, I'm going to remember very little about the countless hours spent writing essays, the late nights studying for accounting classes with distracting friends, and the number of times I would have to rewrite a reference sheet because I didn't write small enough to fit everything on one side of a sheet of paper. But I will never forget the fun and the laugher shared at 3am after binge watching thrillers, the late night walks around campus, the crazy moments on vacations with the fam, or the months I spent frolicking across Southeast Asia and Europe and realized it's ok to be carefree sometimes.
I'm fortunate enough to be around people who are constantly pushing their boundaries and aspiring to greater heights. I've always been one to plan (I think you know this if you have ever seen my Google calendar....); but life is a story that writes itself. Seriously, the best is yet to come! You haven't seen anything yet.
I went to both my main and specific school's commencements where Kevin Plan, CEO of UnderArmour, delivered the commencement speech. Special shoutout to my roommate for giving a killer speech too! Each day was a mix of emotions seeing people I've met throughout the past four years and remembering all the small moments we shared. College has been so full because of all of you guys, so thank you <3 Once a Terp, always a Terp.
And just like that, it's a wrap! Thanks to our family and friends for unconditionally supporting and loving us. We would not have gotten to this point without you.
Jess & Mel