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Four Years at the Mount

Reflections on the closing of the year

My Four Years at the Mount

Leeanne Leary
Class of 2017

(5/2017) Iím looking at the world now as I looked at college exactly four years ago.

Hello again, my name is Leeanne, and for the final time Iím writing in the Four Years at the Mount column as an undergraduate student. Iím not sure if four or forty people have read my column each month for the last four years, but if youíre joining me now on the final leg of this journey, hi, my name is Leeanne. Iím graduating college this month.

Four years ago, I wrote my first article for the Emmitsburg News-Journal. It was the October 2013 edition, and I introduced myself as a college freshman from Pennsylvania. I planned on majoring in some combination of communications and fine arts/graphic design. My goal was to work in some capacity in the media world upon graduating, and I thought 22 years old and senior year seemed a lifetime away.

In preparing myself for this final article, I read all of my freshman year articles. I have almost no words in the wake of that, but here are the limited few: I was so young. Everything that I love, cherish, and plan to do now, I didnít even know existed then. I wrote an article on my very first mission trip to Haiti, a place that now holds much of my heart. I wrote an article on this (weird) ROTC program I was joining Ė what the heck was the Army? Iím now commissioning as an Officer into that same Army two days before graduation. I wrote about finding friends, before I even met the people who are now family. Everything that is now important, simply didnít exist.

I entered the world of the Mount, the world of Emmitsburg, and the world of Maryland with a different life. I, fortunately, havenít lost any of the things I love, but they have evolved and become my life now. Part of that is utterly exciting, part is terrifying. Does that happen forever? In four years, will I look back and reflect on a different life? Will 26 still feel an age split between some binary of extremely young and very adult?

Iím looking at the world now exactly as I looked at college four years ago.

I donít know that I can do this justice, but I know the first step is to say thank you. Thank you to those of you who read my articles and travelled through this weird journey of growth ruled by spontaneity. Thank you to the people who entered my life and became my friends. These people proved everything Iíve ever heard about friendship told, true. Thank you to my mentors, advisors, and professors. I certainly didnít always enjoy doing the work, but I am still in awe constantly at how much knowledge you have, and how willing you were to invest in my life. Thank you to my peers who made me work harder, my teammates who let me laugh at myself, my family who let me disappear for months at a time and supported every choice I made, and everyone who simply cared about this four year journey.

When I came to college I had my entire life planned. I knew what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live, when I wanted to do it, and who I wanted to do it with. If college has done anything perfectly for me, it has completely eradicated each and every one of these certainties. I believe, though, it has done so perfectly and systematically. While being a part of any system makes me slightly uncomfortable, Iím convinced these four years are designed perfectly to first make us question everything, including ourselves. Once weíve done that, we become open to new worlds. Then, we learn. Through classes, through research, through capstone projects, through real-world experiences, through homilies, through trips, and talks, and adoration, and speeches, and guests Ė we learn. We learn that, jokes on us, we donít know much. We learn, though, how to think for ourselves. We learn how to doubt ourselves. We learn resilience, grit, empowerment, and more. We learn how to make life-altering mistakes, and how to come back from them. We learn how to love, how to be a friend, and how to manage. All of this is handed to us in this strange encapsulate miniature adult world where we get to learn and be free under careful guidance and while simultaneously not being too free. And it is wonderful.

Iím looking at the world now as I looked at college exactly four years ago: intrigued, concerned, and excited.

Iím entering the world now entirely different than I entered college exactly four years ago, all thanks to college.

Weird? Very weird.

Iím leaving the Mount with a degree in English literature and secondary education. Iím not entirely sure where Iíll end up, but for the next few months Iíll be in Ft. Lee, Virginia for my Quartermaster Officer Basic Course. Iíll keep you updated with a few graduate articles, donít worry.

So, here is my final undergrad article, my final hello, and my goodbye. Thank you for reading, and thank you for putting up with me, my changing majors, random trips, evident moods, and endless rants. This column has given me the chance to speak every month, make connections, and work under the supervision of four genius mentors and writers.

Iím leaving my Four Years at the Mount, but, as clichť and tired as this may sound, am taking all of it with me. Thank you, again and endlessly.

Read other articles by Leeanne Leary