The time has come - tomorrow morning I will walk across the stage at graduation and embark on an entirely new journey in my life.
A little over 4 years ago, I applied to only one university, and despite the comments of those around me, I held firm in that decision. In February 2009, I received my email of admission from Pepperdine University, and it was an emotional moment full of tears and excitement. It is hard to even believe that I have now concluded my college journey. It seems as though it was just yesterday that I was arriving an hour early to my first college class and meeting Professor Stivers in my freshman seminar.
My Pepperdine experience was distinctly different than most - I was not an athlete, nor a sorority sister and quite frankly, I took great pride in being entirely devoted to my Public Relations major and focusing on real world experiences and internships. I worked throughout my entire college career, and spent many a wonderful weekend at home with my incredible family and friends. I guess you could say I really had the best of both worlds. I had been given the entire world, and I was not going to waste a moment of it.
None of this came without trials of course, which I certainly had my fair share of during my sophomore year. There were many people that attempted to change me, to take my wonderful life away, but they lost in the end, anyone that tries to change the core of who I am, will lose. But in all trials and pain, you become so much stronger and I felt that my transition to adulthood happened that year. I felt stronger academically, physically and mentally - nothing could stop me. Junior year seemed to go by far too quickly between intense academic courses, work and internships and before I knew it, I was a Senior in college. This surreal and bittersweet feeling came and went throughout the semester, as it was hard to even believe it was going to come to an end - that I wouldn’t be seeing these people in the hallways or have the ease of meeting for lunch. Even further, I have always been an old soul, and I have felt closer to faculty at Pepperdine sometimes even more than students, and the reality of not being able to converse with them every week will be something I will truly miss.
Professor Stivers who has been an incredible mentor and supporter since my very first year, Dean Mark Davis who has become such a dear family friend and supporter of my education and personal accomplishments, Professor Detweiler who inspired me to keep pursuing my goals and took such an interest in my development, Professor Ballard for encouraging me to take a deeper look into my ethical nature and supported that growth process so well, Professor Rosenkrans for quite frankly being my own personal cheerleader since my very first year at Pepperdine and especially, Professor Ferguson who has not only been a dear mentor, but who has encouraged and revitalized my deep love for Public Relations, and showed me that I could start my agency and be successful personally and professionally. And to all the professors, faculty and staff I have come into contact with - you have each left such a mark on me as an individual and I have taken everything I have learned and applied it beautifully into my life.
Once again, this is a bittersweet moment as this has been my entire life for the past four years - these have been my mentors and friends, but I am confident that the true friendships will carry on, and the mentors will always be there. Like I said before, I was not your typical college student, I didn’t rush, didn’t go to formal, and I spent most weekends off campus, and I couldn’t have been happier with those decisions.
I did however, book Imagine Dragons for the Spring concert back in March which yielded the largest turnout in Pepperdine history, I maintained an off campus job for the past 2 1/2 years where I am surrounded by people who love and care about my life, I interned and now work for the Community Pregnancy Clinic, whose work constantly humbles me. Finally, I started New Creation Agency, my own Public Relations agency - these accomplishments have not only defined my college career, but have instilled a work ethic within myself that will carry on into my future life.
The point here is that I have lived a profoundly blessed life. My family has given me every opportunity for success and I’m proud to say I didn’t waste those opportunities. My parents have instilled in me a deep faith life and taught me to rely on God in all instances - my Catholic faith has been a huge support for me through college and has pushed me to keep striving for excellence. Finally, there really aren’t enough words to say how grateful I am for my extended family, my grandparents for inspiring my interest in PR, my aunts and uncles for supporting and loving me unconditionally and most importantly my parents - how could I possibly put my thanks in words? These two people have been the strongest examples in my life, they have taught me to work hard and to be a leader, they have shown me what it means to have morals, to rely on my faith life, to always make time to be a little silly and most importantly, to strive to make a difference in this world. Who I am today is entirely because of my parents, their unconditional support is the absolute definition of love. I am incredibly and deeply grateful for these people and their presence in my life.
So here we are - it’s time to graduate, time to move into this new and exciting chapter, and I could not be more ready and elated that it is finally here.