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I am here now

Lydia Olsen
Class of 2016

(5/2016) I wrote an article my freshman year after the completion of my very first semester of college here at the Mount. It began like thisÖ

"Wow! My first semester of college is already over! I canít believe how fast time is going by. It seems like it was just the other day that I was at freshman orientation, about to begin my college career. I remember stepping onto the Mount campus with my mother by my side. Butterflies filled my stomach with the unknown lying ahead."

Itís rather ironic to look back at the feelings I had when first arriving on campus four years ago. I was a mixture of nervous and excited. I knew that a lot lay ahead of me. Even from the start of my college career, the semesters seemed to fly past. Those butterflies that filled my stomach on that very first day I arrived with my mother to move into Pangborn Hall, will absolutely fill my stomach on graduation day. Similarly, I find myself once again aware of all that lies ahead of me. I guess thatís how all great journeys begin.

In that same article I wrote freshman year, I discussed being present and this idea of "ad sum nunc," Latin for "I am here now." I challenged myself to live in the moment more often and to embrace the time that I had right then and there instead of being so focused on the past or the future. Isnít it strange how we often give others great advice but somehow forget to take it ourselves? I wrapped up this article by sayingÖ

"I am excited for the opportunities, challenges and memories next semester will bring, but I am more focused on what is here and now. I have learned so much in my first semester of college. It is exhilarating to think that I have three and a half more years of learning, laughing and being present."

Though I find that my years here at the Mount have ended, that doesnít mean that my years of learning, laughing and being present have to end. In fact, I expect that I will be doing these things for many more years to come, and hopefully for my whole life. Itís important that I remember that graduation isnít an ending point, but rather is the starting point for so many new and exciting opportunities to enjoy and be joy through my presence and my compassion.

I am very excited for May 15 to roll around, but I am still not sure how it arrived so quickly. Time really does fly, which is another reason why living in the moment is so important. Luckily, my time at the Mount has been a beautiful adventure and it is filled with moments that I will always cherish. These past four years, I have been able to learn a lot, about academics, the world, and myself. It has been a time of great growth and personal development. I will forever be grateful to the beautiful individuals that I have had the honor to meet along my journey and I am so thankful for the role that they have each played within my life.

To My Graduating Class:

Look how far we have come! It has been a long journey that somehow moved so quickly. I am so glad to be sharing in our Mount experiences together. It has been a joy to watch you grow alongside me. I am happy to see all that we have accomplished and I am so excited to see all of the good that we go and do throughout the world. I hope we always remember our Mount community and the friendships that we have formed over these years.

To My Professors:

I donít know how to thank you enough. Thank you for continuing to shape my world by increasing and deepening my knowledge in specific subjects and in the overall subject of life. It has been an honor to learn from each of you and to spend time soaking in the passion that you share in your teaching and example. Thank you for allowing me opportunities to learn more about the things that interest me and for supporting me on my journey, both as a student and as an individual. Your love for learning and teaching has propelled me to work hard and pursue all that draws my interest.

To My Friends and Family:

I am so blessed to have each of you in my life. It is your support that has made everything in my life this far possible. I am forever grateful for the love that you shower me with. Thank you for always being able to see my potential and for working to help me achieve the best that I can become. You all had made everything in my life possible.

To My CORE Family:

Nearly everything I am is because of you. This leadership development program through the Office of Social Justice has completely changed my life. Thank you for opening my eyes and for giving me vision through a lens of justice. I am better because you all have helped me to dispel my own ignorance while allowing me room to grow with a group always willing to support me. I am so sure that you all are going to change the worldÖyou already are. I hope that you believe in yourselves the way I believe in you. I am so thankful for your part in my journey because it has completely shaped my future paths and my actions.

To My Readers and the Greater Community:

I am so lucky to have had you on my journey. Being able to write for the Emmitsburg News-Journal has been such a joy in my college career. It has been amazing to be able to share my growth with each of you. I am honored to have had your interest and be better because of you. I will miss being able to share my joys, struggles, and life experiences with you through my writing but I am grateful that the paper will continue to allow Mount students the opportunity to share their personal stories throughout their college career.

My black gown hangs patiently in my closet. A black, blue, white, and yellow hood wraps itself around the gown identifying a Bachelorís in Science. My mortarboard black cap lays flat on my desk, the tassel with the "2016" keychain hangs from the edge freely. I nervously wait for the day when I wake up early and dress myself in my full graduation attire. I look forward to gathering with my fellow students and walking across the stage. I cannot wait to turn my tassel to the other side of my cap and celebrate with my loved ones. I am excited to start this new chapter in my life but I know that there are so many things about the Mount that I will miss. I will miss the workers in Patriot Hall that are always filled with so much joy like Mr. Fred at the bakery and Cathy at the register. I will miss walking across campus and everyone waving and smiling at each other on a beautiful day. Iíll miss the bells that seem to constantly ring and the quite rumble of the highway. Iíll miss all the families with children dressed up for Sunday mass and the proximity to the Grotto. I guess it all hasnít really sunk in yet and Iím not exactly sure when it will.

I ended that article I wrote freshman year with advice that I hope to remember to take, on graduation day and everyday.

"Donít be absent. Be present. Be excited for what is ahead and learn from the past but live today."

It is important that we remember where we have come from and that we set goals for where we are going. Yet, we must always remember to be here now because it is in this very moment that you are living and when I walk across the stage on May 15, I hope that I will remember to think "ad sum nunc," that I am here now, and not only is that something beautiful but it is definitely something to be proud of.

Read other articles by Lydia Olsen