Graduation my heart hurt. I avoided thinking about it while months before commencement turned to weeks and then days. I stressed more about finding a job than the inevitable end of my college, and school, career. But now it happened and I can’t quite wrap my mind around it.
I fell in love with Fordham the minute I stepped foot on campus as a junior in high school. I remember (creepily) stalking the Facebook group of incoming freshman for the fall of 2008 and feeling unbelievably excited. I remember applying and then getting in and bringing my acceptance letter to cheerleading practice after school. I remember how excited I was to try out for and make the cheerleading team, and how excited I was to start fresh, six hours from home in the most amazing city in the world.
The years following weren’t easy. I had a really hard time finding friends at first, and since Andrew was my first boyfriend I had a hard time adapting to not only having a boyfriend, but also a long distance one. I’m incredibly lucky he stayed around all this time while I changed and grew into a functioning adult. Freshman year my life revolved around cheerleading and nationals and that cost me a lot of college experiences.
Sophomore year I fell out of love with cheering and struggled with it the entire year, still trying to balance a serious relationship with my faltering love for the sport and my desire to have a positive college experience. In the end, I ended up walking away, a decision I definitely don’t regret.
An aside on cheerleading, though, is that I don’t regret those two years for a second. Cheerleading gave me everything I had at school. Without it I would have never experienced UCA nationals. I would have never met Jen and Caroline and I would have never found Kaitie. I wouldn’t have found myself outside of it, and as much as I have come to loathe the sport, I don’t regret the time I did spend with the team.
Junior year made me rethink everything I had ever thought about Fordham. I lost most of my closest friends from freshman and sophomore year and it was incredibly hard on me. I dreaded every weekend and seriously considered transferring several times. It broke my heart to know that I had come to dread being at a school I once loved with all my heart. Towards the end of the year, I started finding my place, but summer interrupted and I was incredibly unsure about senior year.
Senior year at Fordham has far surpassed every expectation I had. I loved my job, I had a handle on my school work, and above all, I felt like I fit in. I had a real group of friends and for the first time in a really long time I had fun. I can’t remember having so much fun and being so comfortable before this year. Kaitie ended up being the best roommate for me, and I am incredibly grateful for everything she gave me this year. I’ve never been so happy. And I’ve never been so sad to leave. I am so lucky to have had an experience that makes it so painful and hard to leave, and I only wish it would have started sooner.
I want to first thank Kaitie. Thanks, Kait, for giving me a friend to share apartment 7 with. Thank you for bringing me with you to Scott’s and giving me so many friends, and so many memories. Thank you for showing me that there is a place I fit in and for showing me that it’s possible to love Fordham after all. Thank you for being my best friend and partner in crime through this entire year and never getting annoyed with me and always including me. Thank you for making my regret for choosing Fordham disappear.
Next, I want to thank Andrew. No one had to endure as much complaining, crying and oversharing as he did these past four years. He let me vent to him constantly, even when he was busy trying to have his own life. He has been my best friend and confidant through this all and I couldn’t have made it through college without him. Long distance was tough, but I can’t imagine not having Andrew there for me through everything and I am infinitely grateful for him and love him even more for it. Thank you for trusting me, and thank you for loving me through everything.
Next is a huge thanks to my family. Thanks for tolerating every single up and down I went through in these four years. Thank you for assuring me everything would, in fact, work out for me, because so far, it has. Thank you for supporting me and teaching me how to be a grown up.
I want to thank every single person I met at school. The old friends, new friends and everyone in between. Every single person I met there shaped me and made me into the person I am today. Conflicts made me strong and friends made me happy. As much as I would have loved to have found the friends I did sooner, I know that the development I went through the first three years of school made me who I am, and Freshman or Sophomore, or even Junior Kelsey wouldn’t have been ready to open up just yet. Now I have lifelong friends I can’t wait to see again, and I’m already counting the days until I get to go back and visit, something I never did before.
The end of college was incredibly sad for me. There were lots of tears followed by incredible stress and more tears. I’ve been wallowing in my post-grad depression while simultaneously trying my hardest to join the workforce. I truly cannot believe it’s over, but I am incredibly happy that I finally found people at Fordham that made it so unbelievably heartbreaking to leave. I’m so happy I didn’t give up on Fordham and I will forever hold that beautiful place in the Bronx in my heart.