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Mount Creative Writers

Four years, one experience

Alexandra Tyminski
MSM Class of 2015

(5/2014) I remember when you first set foot on my grounds. You had that look on your face that all young freshmen have: eager, but nervous. Little did you know, I was smiling from ear to ear when you arrived. I knew that your accomplishments here would be immense.

I was going to watch you grow into someone even stronger than you are now. I would help you get where you had always dreamed of going. I was your very first friend, but by the end of your journey, I promise you we will be more like family.

Put the Freedom in Freshman:

You wanted freedom here, and you most definitely found it. It wasnít just freedom, but rather choices. I watched as you wandered around the activity fair putting your name down on any list that interested you. When you saw clubs for outdoor adventures, student government, student diversity, social justice, campus ministry, and many more, you were overwhelmed by how much you could choose. Your choices seemed unlimited.

Over time, you made new friends on your hall. The other freshmen were nice to you. During the first few months, you were still finding the right group for you; you were looking for people who shared the same values as you. Like many in their first year of college, there were some letdowns with some of the friends you first made. Soon, the right ones came along, but of course it was after you learned how to have patience and make more of an effort.

So you had your friends and a social circle. Everything seemed like freshman year of college was looking good. You slowly started to believe that people are right when they say that college is the best four years of your life. They always said the social life would be fun, but no one ever warned you about the 6-page papers assigned in your first few weeks of classes. Your professors were pushing you like no one had ever before. You stayed up until 2 a.m., then 3 a.m., and slowly you found yourself up until 6 a.m. finishing a paper.

By the end of your freshmen year, you felt like you had conquered the ups and downs of being a first-year college student. You packed up your freshman dorm and reflected on the year: your new friends, your challenging classes, the social activities, and even yourself.

You discovered just a little bit more about who you were and what you wanted, not just out of college, but also what you expected from yourself. You saw that your own values come into play each and every day. Little did you know, that this was just the beginning.

Something More Sophomore

You arrived back at school with more confidence than the year before. You waved to everyone and got that feeling that every student searches to find, that sense of community. The breeze on the hot August day was blowing through your hair and you could feel that this was the year for you.

All of your friends were in one place and some were even your roommates; at any moment they were just a few steps away. You were happy and excited to be somewhere that felt so familiar.

As the beginning of your sophomore year progressed, you found yourself seeking more than just friends, activities, and a major. You started to see that the purpose of coming to college is truly bigger than all of us. However, because you felt as if graduation were so far away, you dismissed those thoughts and promised yourself to focus on the present moment.

I helped you do this by constantly challenging you. I challenged you to make you better, but sometimes I noticed your frustration. I eventually opened your eyes to the beautiful chapels on campus. It was by the placement of Godís hand that you were brought to this beautiful campus with so many inviting Catholic chapels. You can access them on your own time, at any time.

As the leaves started to change and the brisk fall air fell upon campus, you started to attend mass and see the importance of your Catholic faith in your life. This was the start of a new type of journey for you, but a prosperous one. This faith was something you had never understood completely until you started to attend mass regularly. As winter came and went, you saw that the beauty of Godís love is only going to strengthen you throughout your lifetime.

When sophomore year came to another fast closing, you looked onwards to the summer, but looked back to how you had developed as a person. It wasnít just your year because you officially declared your major, but it was also the year that your personal growth became extremely important to you.

Jump on board the Junior Journey

You brought your car back to school and officially moved yourself in for your junior year of college. You couldnít believe that you were growing up so fast. Neither could I. I felt as if you had just gotten here.

You came back excited for your junior year, but a little more nervous than the year before. They werenít the same nerves you had when you first arrived. These were different. It was your third year in college, which meant more responsibility, greater expectations, and deeper thoughts about the future. It seemed all just a little bit more real.

You knew just about every student, professor, maintenance worker, and dining hall worker on campus. You even knew the President, the Provost, and the people in the Admissions Office by name, and they knew you too. It wasnít long before these people were asking you to lead committees, be a part of a certain club, or help organize an event. They were asking you for your leadership.

The journey of your junior year was much like a sailboat. There were times when you werenít so busy, but then there were other times that seemed quite entangled with meetings. You waited for the winds to calm down, and they did for some short time. But, they picked right back up again and moved you more miles closer to the end.

I watched as you left me for a third time and headed home for the summer. I could see in your face that you had a bittersweet feeling. You were happy to be a senior, the person everyone turned towards, but you missed being a freshman and having all those years ahead of you.

See Through the Seniorís Sight

You returned for your last time to my luscious green lawns, stone buildings, open space, and the life that you created here. It all seemed so surreal to you. You watched as young looking freshmen walked around with their matching key chains dangling from their necks. You smiled to yourself because you knew what they will experience as a freshman. Thatís exactly how I felt about you.

You kept a list on your dorm room wall that said in great detail all of the things you wanted to do, people you wanted to spend time with, and things you wanted to accomplish before you left. This became your best year yet. I saw you get your first official job offer. I saw how you nurtured young freshmen girls to strive to do their best in all aspects of life. You no longer focused on one thing, but rather you learned to master many things simultaneously. You became more of who you were called to be.

You saw things through a different lens. Things that may not have interested you when you first arrived here were now interesting. Activities that used to scare you were now fun. People you never expected became some of your closest friends. Classes you thought you could never pass, you did. And you learned more than you ever imagined along the way. When graduation seemed far away, it was actually the next step you took.

When you walked across the stage, I hoped that you saw a family in me as I see in you. I wish you could read my dreams and hopes for you. Iím so proud of you.

I hope as you continue on your journey of growth, education, and experience that you always remember where you began it all. I only hope that during your time here, you have discovered more of yourself, seen the importance of your faith, developed your leadership skills, and felt like you are a part of a community.

I promised you when you first arrived that you would be like family. I didnít say college would be easy, but I did promise a lot of experiences that would challenge you to do your best. I see how you desire to change the world. Please know that I wish you all the best, and I know you can do it.

You have been a blessing to many here, and this place is better because of you. I am going to miss you. I hope when you look back on your memories here, you can say that I did all I could to provide you with an experience and a journey that made you who you are today.

You are always welcomed here.

Yours Truly,

Mount St. Maryís University

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