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Mount Creative Writers

Looking back in order to look forward

Alexandra Tyminski
MSM Class of 2015

(5/2015) "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined," said Albert Einstein. When we are little, we all have dreams. We tell our parents what exactly we want to be when we grow up. We dream about what could be and where we want to be. One of my dreams of going to college and getting my degree will soon be over. Mount St. Maryís Universityís graduation is creeping up on me. Recently, every graduating senior (including myself) has been asked the question, "Whatís next?" However, I think that before we can look forward, it is important to look to our past.

Mount St. Maryís was actually not my first choice for college. It was my parents who encouraged me to think about the Mount as a possibility. Long story short, parents really do know best. I ended up here, and it has been the time of my life. I know that many people older than me express how college is the best four years of your life, but it is a different four years when you come to the Mount. Looking back, I can see each and every moment where I have grown into the person I am today. It is an honor to write this article about the place that has developed my character.

Why is this time of the year for graduates so bittersweet? Is this a sign that we are truly ready for the next steps? Iím not exactly sure, but I think it is a combination of being excited for whatís ahead and fearful of leaving a comfort zone so dear to our hearts. I think that we fear what it is ahead, if we will succeed, and if we are even well prepared.

Albert Einstein said, "The important thing is to stop questioning." This year, I want to leave the Mount with a different word other than "bittersweet." I want to look back and see only why my college experience was absolutely sweet. I donít want to question if I got everything I could out of my college experience without reflecting on it. So, for my last article as an undergraduate, I have decided to write a thank you letter to the Mount community for all they have given me and for helping make this experience possible.

. . .

Dear Mount St. Maryís University,

Four short years ago, I stepped onto your beautiful campus. I was unsure of who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I was uncomfortable, confused, and scared. I came as one person, and I will be leaving as another. I am now confident, inspired, and ready to become a leader. Thank you for providing a place that allowed me to make new friends each and every day. You even taught me to get rid of my bad public speaking skills. You gave me a great place to expand my knowledge. I have seen and learned so many new perspectives here.

Thank you so much for giving me professors that care about my professional and personal growth. They have really taught me how to work hard. I now understand why college is so hard and why it is important to keep working hard even beyond college. When there were times I thought I couldnít make it until Friday, you allowed the professors here to be willing to work with me. Most importantly, thank you for all the morning coffees that provided me with energy to get through my harder school days.

You should also really be thanked for your location. It could not have been a better setting and environment. On a day of sunshine, rain, snow, or clouds, the Mount is still beautiful. Thanks for being my resting place, Mount St. Maryís. You have really helped me grow in my faith life and my relationships and realize that I need to enjoy the small things in life. You even stretched out my adventurous side and encouraged me to dabble into the bigger things too. When I look back at my experience, I canít help but smile at all of the fun activities that I participated in during my four years. At the Mount, I can say that I have done things such as rock climbed outdoors numerous times, caved in the mountains, gone to Hershey Park, enjoyed the crab feast every year, led retreats for other students, attended retreats for myself, traveled to do various service trips, and gone to other events like dances, homecoming, sports games, concerts, and karaoke.

Thank you for giving me friends that care about me and for the friendly faces that work here. The man who gives me my breakfast in the morning knows my order without asking. The woman at the cash register remembers my family when they come to visit. I have even eaten breakfast with the women that work in the cafť sometimes. Thank you for their presence and joyful attitudes as they have served me these past four years. My friends have been wonderful and you have given me the best memories with them.

Mount St. Maryís, you are an exceptional school that has prepared me for what is next. You have showed me why we should think more deeply about certain issues and how we can become better thinkers. Thank you for granting me opportunities to lead at the Mount through giving tours as a Mount Ambassador and leading the MLK Day Committee, and for introducing me to Mike Hillman so that I could write for the Emmitsburg News-Journal. The Mount has taught me to never say, "No, I canít," and always say, "Yes, I can," when I am challenged with something. I have also learned to develop sound thoughts, arguments, and reasoning. I appreciate the finer things more and try to live more virtuously. It is because of you that I want to strive to be a better person in both my career and my personal life after graduation.

Before I finish the letter, there are just a few more things I need to look back on. To my mom and dad, thank you for giving me my college experience and the educational foundation I need to succeed. One thank you is never going to be enough to express how much I am thankful for your support, guidance, and love. I wouldnít be able to thank the Mount for all it has done for me if it werenít for you both. I think that it is easiest to forget about how much our parents are a part of our college lives since, for most students, they live in a different place than we do. But, I know that you have been with me here in all that I have done, my decisions, and who I am becoming. You first showed me what the Mount had to offer. I will always be grateful for the people you are and for your great leadership. I would not be walking across the stage in May if I didnít have you.

My final thank you is for your patience with me. I know that it has taken me these past four years to fully understand your mission as a university. I now get it. You have created the new me. I am no longer a young freshman who is concerned about the future. You have taken me and grown me in every which way, given me people and experiences to shape my perspectives, provided opportunities to teach me about the things Iím most passionate about, and transformed me into the young woman who is ready to be the change she wants to see in the world.

Thanks again, Mount St. Maryís University. I know that when I walk across that stage, I will look back on everything that you have given me. Courageously, I will look forward to my future. I know that you will be cheering for me on the sidelines as I go into the world. I will be leaving you with only a sweet feeling rather than a bittersweet feeling. Aristotle reminds me that "the roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet." Holding you in my heart, I will forever be thankful.

Sincerely,

Alexandra M. Tyminski

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