This may very well be my last semester here at Emory University and this thought is bittersweet. Although I’m not planning on graduating until next year, I am planning on spending half of next year studying abroad in South Africa at the University of Cape Town and the other half studying at American University in Washington, D.C. I am excited and anxious about being in these new and exciting places next year, but the thought of not being here at Emory anymore is overwhelming at times.

I walk around campus and do certain things I’ve always done thinking, “This is the last time I’m going to be doing this…” Sigh. But all good things must come to an end. I have enjoyed my time here at Emory. I’ve met some amazing people and have made connections that will last a lifetime and I am grateful for that. Emory has provided me so many great opportunities – academic and otherwise – that have helped me to grow and develop as a lifelong learner, friend, and world citizen. My progress, growth, and input to this community have been made evident in the responses that I have received in sharing my plans to spend my senior year away from campus. Employers and employees that I’ve worked with, organizations that I’ve been a part of, and friends that I’ve made have all expressed how much of an impact our connections have made for us mutually.

These past three years have truly flown by and so much change has occurred in my life that I see myself as a completely different person – in the most positive way possible. I heard an Admission Counselor once tell a group of perspective students that if you come to college and leave thinking the same way as you did when you arrived, you should have never came. I can truly say that my thoughts have grown deeper and my frame of mind has been challenged and sharpened time and again. I am proud to say that I view the world we live in through a different, fresh lens.

I look back at my experiences and would only make one minor change. I wish I would have gotten involved and sought out my passions earlier and more vigorously. Once I found my niche here at Emory, my experience became so much more enjoyable and I was filled with an immeasurable enthusiasm about all of my involvements and commitments. Moreover, this would be my advice to anyone going to college or even currently enrolled: be proactive and take advantage of the opportunities your college has to offer. Seek out your niche and find (or make!) your place on campus, it’ll change your experience for the better!