Eleven months and twenty-five days ago, I scrambled to throw my things in to my backpack. Usually, I would be getting the guys together so we could go get lunch at Speedy Subs or The Chowder House, but today was different. Today was a milestone that I would never forget, and one that would decide where my life was going after graduation. That day I sat down at a table in our school’s library, surrounded by family, friends, coaches and staff. Next to me was Jalon McCullough, the school’s star basketball player, and together we both fulfilled our dreams of competing in our sports at the college level by signing our National Letters of Intent.
I would bet that you can remember any of those milestones from your own senior year, or just life in general. Those moments where you thought “This is why I worked. This is why it took all of that time. Just to get to this moment and feel that even for a few seconds, it has all come full circle.” However, these moments do not last forever. I thanked all those who supported me and served as role models. I signed my NLI, hugged my parents, coaches, and friends, and it was over. By making my decision, I finally began seeing myself leaving it all behind. So because I had accomplished what I had set to do in the years before, I now had to give it all up? The “lasts” of my life started becoming milestones too.
Eleven months and twenty-seven days ago, I went to my last prom.
Eleven months and fifteen days ago, we had our last day with our kindergarten buddies (who are now first graders!).
Eleven months and nine days ago, I had my last day as Student Body President and swore in my successor.
Ten months and thirty days ago, I put on my cap and gown, received my diploma, and had my last day at Monroe Catholic High School.
Last. Last. Last. Last.
Seven months and thirty days ago, I had my last day in Fairbanks. Followed by my first flight to Seattle to get to Lacey. Seven months and twenty-nine days ago, I had my first practice with my new Saint Martin’s Saints cross country team.
Seven months and twenty-four days ago, I had my first service project at the Olympia Children’s Museum with all of the first-year students for Incipio, our orientation program.
Six months and twenty-six days ago, I went to the Washington State Fair for the first time.
Five months and fourteen days ago, I had my first article published in the school newspaper.
First. First. First. First.
The saying “when one door closes, another door opens” comes to mind. These doors were going to close and there was nothing I could do about it. I had to go out and find the doors that were opening, and that meant leaving home. If you are about to leave home in a few months, take in your lasts! You earned them! Then know that there are many firsts around the corner… maybe even at Saint Martin’s.
Nine weeks. The first twenty-seven are down, and I just have nine to go. This is the first day back after Spring Break. I feel right at home, but man, oh man, am I missing Fairbanks.
I had the three months of summer before I got on the plane in August, and I had a month for Christmas break. Two-thirds of this year have been spent in Lacey now, and that will be the story for the next three years. Here I am, putting numbers and statistics into my college experience. Why? To better understand what I am accomplishing here? No. That is not an accurate representation of what I am gaining from SMU. I will save the numbers for my economics and calculus classes, because I think of this year by all of the friends I’ve met and memories I’ve made.
Making the Dean’s List was fantastic news to me, and it reflected all of the hard work that I had put into my classes that first semester. When I think of this later, I will not think of every test and assignment, but rather what I felt when I went up to my door and saw my name on the certificate. That was a “need-to-call-mom” moment if I ever had one. “Need-to-call-mom” moments are an excellent way to think about college.
Mom is always my greatest supporter, and she has been with me every step of the way until this year. It should be noted that when I say “Need-to call-mom”, that includes dad too! I think that until this year, I didn’t realize what my family meant to me because they were always there. Now they are far away from me, including my two little brothers. “Need-to-call-mom” moments are important because it shows the moment was more important than a regular Facebook post, or tweet. It would have been something that you would want to celebrate with the whole family. Along with academic achievements, these moments included an exciting track meet, any time I would go and explore a new city, getting an on-campus job with The Belltower,
or completing an interesting project for a class. Mom isn’t just there for the good times, however. She is also there for the rough spots in life.
Recently, the leadership positions on campus were announced and I was greatly anticipating to be selected as a Norcia mentor. Unfortunately, I was not chosen, but was offered a position to be an Orientation Leader. I would have loved to be an OL, and hope that I can at some point, but the job requires me to stay on campus over the summer, so I had to turn down the position for now. Initially, I was pretty upset by the news, but I had to let it go. Nevertheless, it was a “need-to-call-mom” moment. By talking to her, I was able to visualize the big picture and see that not only had I already had a great year, but that I had many more opportunities to come. Just because I will not be a Norcia mentor next year, doesn’t mean I can’t be a leader in the Saint Martin’s community, and nothing is stopping me from applying for the position again next year.
It would be easy to start distancing myself from leadership programs on campus but that is not what this experience is supposed to do to me. I can see that the Norcia program is very tough to get into, but this is strengthening me. I will be improving my skills for another year and be ready to earn my spot next year. Until then, I will continue to work to find my place at Saint Martin’s, and give back to the community that is giving so much to me. Oh, and of course, update mom along the way.
Thanks for reading,