It seems so strange to say, but in just a few short days, I will be a college graduate. There were moments throughout my time at SAU where I was convinced I would be a college dropout, yet here I am. I have made some of my best memories while at SAU, but have also experienced things I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy. Through it all, my friends and SAU family helped me through it all and I am eternally grateful. I wanted to write a short thank you to all the people who helped me throughout my SAU career.
My four years at SAU have been anything but normal. Freshman year, I enrolled in SAU just two weeks before the semester started. I met my roommate, Faith Skidmore ’19, on move-in day. The next year, Faith and I moved onto Beta One in Lowell and became members of the “Beta Onesies,” a group of girls who had all lived on Beta One their freshman year. This group welcomed us in with open arms and they have become some of my favorite people and closest friends. The first two years at SAU were where I really found my people and grew to love the SAU campus, which is exactly what I needed to prepare myself for what junior and senior year had in store for me.
Fall semester of junior year, just two weeks into the semester, I took a medical leave. In a previous article, linked here, I wrote about my experience with my diagnosis of endometriosis. The pain was unbearable and attending class was just completely impossible. My professors, academic advisor, and the staff here at SAU made these medical leave and my transition back to campus the following spring so easy. Knowing they were all praying for me eased my mind on my hard mental health days. When I did return in the spring, I got into two car accidents within six days of each other. My professors were kind enough to allow me to miss classes as I healed.
On April 26th, 2019 my father passed away unexpectedly. My roommate, Hayley Wiseley ’21, left her class to drive me home. Many of my friends and even Brian Kono drove to my home town to attend the funeral and Dr. Chuck White gave me an extremely generous extension on my COR 300 coursework. My professors allowed me to miss my classes. My partner for a final assignment was kind enough to take on the brunt of the project work as I grieved. We received flowers from President Ellis. Every single person I spoke to about the situation was completely understanding and offered me prayers, assistance, and a shoulder to cry on. The SAU community allowed me time to grieve but also allow me to finish my semester. I am eternally grateful for that.
In the fall of 2019, the second semester of my junior year, I realized I was not happy in my major. I was an elementary education major and I realized I simply did not have a passion for it. The Education Department was understanding and helped me make the switch to the Communications Department. My advisors and professors helped me dive into the major. Making this switch was hard for me, as it was late in my college career and I felt like changing my major made me a failure, but it instead opened my eyes. I started enjoying my classes a lot more and I was actually excited to go to class. Professors like Mary Darling, Paul Patton, Jen Letherer, and Wally Metts pushed me to become a better writer and communicator. College was becoming fun in both my academic and social life for once.
Now, as I go out into the dreaded real world, I am so excited to see what community I find myself in next. SAU has taught me the value of surrounding yourself with good people and finding a community no matter where you are. Without the help of the SAU community in some of my darkest days, I do not know where I would be. It was hard to speak up sometimes about my struggles, because I thought no one would care or I was exaggerating my pain, but the help I received was worth it. If you are a student who is struggling, please speak up. There are people that care about you and want to see you succeed. It may be embarrassing or hard for you to admit that you are not okay, but I can promise you that it is absolutely worth it.
Thank you, SAU, for the most interesting four years of my life.