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Friday, August 29, 2014

"All Children, Except One, Grow Up" ...And That Would Be Me

This coming spring I will be graduating from Elon University.

...Wait, what?

As most seniors know, it feels like it was just yesterday that I was beginning what would be the best four years of my life. Just yesterday I got my picture taken for my Phoenix Card, a.k.a. your Elon University lifeline. Just yesterday I moved all of my things into that horrifying dorm known as "Old Staley." Just yesterday it was my first day of preseason for the Elon Dance Team, my second family while away at school. Just yesterday I was sprinting down the hill towards a group of 150 other women who I am lucky to call my sisters in Sigma Kappa.

My first day at Elon, the day I moved into Old Staley.

Now unfortunately you can't get your picture retaken for your Phoenix Card, so as a senior I'm still stuck with the same 18 y.o. face fitted with a pair of solid black eyes that make me look like a demon. Apparently the printer was having an off day and couldn't print eyes, so I got stuck looking like a monster all throughout my college experience. And Old Staley was the perfect name for my freshman dorm since our hall continuously reeked of fifty rotting corpses. I'd also like to note that I was charged $200 for the sink in my room because it wasn't "clean enough" and then the university tore the building down two weeks later. There were days when I was absolutely overwhelmed by the time commitment required of varsity athletes on a collegiate team. The days when I performed at practice as if I had just learned how to dance were my absolute favorite. And there were those days when I got into petty arguments with my sisters. One time I sat in the corner of my room in the dark and just sulked, because apparently I'm really mature.

My horrible Phoenix Card. Apparently Elon now allows creatures to attend the university.

However, looking back, I wouldn't change one single thing. You have to take the good and the bad. One of the most important life lessons I've gained at college is to just roll with it. Whether you're rolling with the punches or rolling with piles of good fortune, college has been an insane ride so far and I'd really prefer that it didn't end.

So here's my advice: Go to that party on a weeknight even when you have a huge paper due the next day. Spend money that you don't have on a movie ticket with your friends, or to go to a concert that you probably won't remember. Worry less, laugh more. Do what you want to do, not what you think you have to. Focus on building relationships rather than maintaining a perfect GPA. Make stupid decisions, then make them again. Don't hold grudges. Get involved around campus, because you never know who you'll meet or what you'll learn when you step outside of your dorm room. Meet new people, try new things. College is the time to start figuring out who you are, so find your passions and pursue them.

As you progress through college, the intensity of those exhilarating memories you once had starts to lessen as you lay new memories on top of the old. It doesn't really hit you until your senior year when you begin backstalking yourself on Facebook or flipping through old photos that you realize: "Holy crap, this has been one heck of an amazing ride."

Seniors, this is our year. Let's be reckless and stupid while we can. It's scary to think about what comes next and it's bittersweet to hear the word "graduation," but we're not there yet. We still have this year, this final hoorah. A child I nannied once told me that you're still a child until you graduate college, so let's be kids while we still can.

My name is Leah. I'm a senior.

In the wise words of One Direction: "I wanna live while we're young."

Until next time,