This is the last one. My dad said “Take a look at it one more time, you won’t come back.”

It has been less than a week, but I am still shocked at the thought that I’m just not coming back to Brandeis. I have to remind myself that I am done. It has been a long journey and maybe it feels longer because I was awake during most of it. Studying, doing readings, assignments, writing e-mails, working, cooking, running here and there, making future plans, applying for things. So much work went into undergraduate, thus, the restless, sleepless nights. But also so much joy…

I learned a ton. I am not sure if I am ready to take on the world, but I do feel more prepared for it. I graduated Magna cum laude in Sociology and Hispanic Studies, I got to have five internships while I worked two jobs, I got a bunch of scholarships and awards, went abroad, got to leave my comfort zone all the time.

Most especially, I got to meet my best friends while at Brandeis—four gals who changed my life and made me love Brandeis at a point in my life I wanted to leave it behind.

I do not want to say I peaked in college because that would be a sad beginning to a new life. I know more wonderful things wait for me. However, it has been one of the most memorable times of my life. One in which many dreams became true, including its most important: graduating.

After graduation, I had to pack everything in a haste. I had to leave for New York City. Four years in three boxes, two suitcases, and miscellaneous bags, it was inevitable to not sob, especially given the circumstances. All my friends got to stay after graduation as we all have the house until the end of the month. I wanted to stay those extra days and embrace their presence. But my friend Khushee got a job at Deloitte back in India. My friend Sarah is moving back to NYC to retake her job at Goldman Sachs. My friend Lauren is doing an MSW at Hunter College. And my friend Rachel is moving home in Long Island, although, she plans on moving back to Boston once she finds a job. The point is that we are all diverging—going on different adventures and who knows when we are going to be together the five of us again.

I cried too, just because I felt deeply grateful for everything. How it all turned out. Right now, I am doing a sort of “boot camp” at The New York Times and I’ll get to enter Columbia Journalism School in the fall. I could not be more grateful for everything I have been able to receive. In my wildest dreams, I would not have thought any of this could have been possible. But hard work, dedication, planning, and the power dreaming can make ‘impossible’ things, possible. This endless gratefulness gave me a harder time saying ‘Bye’ to Brandeis. When my dad threw a bucket of cold water at me, reminding me I was not coming back to Waltham, the emotions were all an indescribable concoction of sadness and happiness–but mostly sadness.

My aunt described this moment in which one graduates as a moment of, in Spanish, ‘luto‘ (which translates grief). It is a moment that takes time to complete dawn upon you and align with your whole self. So I am going to give myself that time. I know this day was coming and I know it’s a natural next step towards the future.

I am certainly not sure what I will find in the future, but the whole thing excites me. Storytelling is thrilling and it runs through my veins even if my self-doubt and insecurities sometimes deny it.

I know you will hear from me someday. I am still very much a work in progress, but I look at the future and I cannot stop smiling about it. Deep inside of me, I know it is going to be a great one!

I wish you all the best in life, it has been a pleasure to record my college life in forty blog entries.

Best regards,

Santiago Montoya