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  • Stephanie Daniels

Graduating Proudly in All My Agency

Ahh, to be a Senior in your last year of college. To be able to look back on all the moments spent managing full time work, the responsibilities of school and an appetite for some sort of life outside the two. Friendships made, accomplishments achieved, and nights not sleeping. Not to mention, that time when you went to Starbucks during finals and asked for seven shots of espresso in your latte and watched the look of concern gradually spread across the face of your barista. You smiled back in a sleep deprived stupor. Such feelings of endearment shower over me when looking at how far I’ve come and how much I’ve sacrificed to call myself one of the members in society who have traversed the sometimes tumultuous yet gratifying challenge of academia.

I must say that as I look back on what all I’ve accomplished, I couldn’t be prouder. My career began with a rough start. I was homeless early on in college and had to drop out of school as a result. Being faced with the challenge of just trying to survive and keep what little sense of normal I desperately was able to hold on to, thoughts of returning to school and graduating remained firm in my mind. I knew that I wanted to excel and give myself something to be proud of. I knew that not only did I want to complete my Associate’s, but also go on to acquire my Bachelor’s degree.

Reflecting on the fact that I am now at the finish line of my satisfying yet challenging path, I realize how much I’ve been able to accomplish while in school. Being honored with the opportunity to be Editor in Chief for our school’s newspaper, achieving publication, and growing evermore as a creative. Working with such outstanding talent with a passion for sharing their works with the world around us was such a great experience. I really was able to see the kindness in other people, and the true light that can come out of a group of people whose eyes are set on the same target. Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without the help of our faculty advisor Ryan Krull. He helped shepherd me through the terrain of being a journalist. This piece wouldn’t be right without shouting out my team--thanks guys for all your hard work!

I also think about my journey as a student of Sociology. To learn how to decipher fact from fiction, to be able to be a part of the scholarly conversation around what’s occurring in our world is an opportunity that I will forever be grateful for. It really makes me feel like I can make a difference, and that I have the ability and skill to define myself as credible in the truth I strive to uncover. Two professors come to mind when I think about my success, Dr. Rachel Craft and Dr. Stephanie DiPietro. For those of you reading who are still in school, I highly recommend them! They helped me really carve out my sociological mind and build the confidence to speak to the world and its state all the while keeping it as real as it gets! It doesn’t get any better than that! Lol.

Yet still, as I look back on all the things I’ve accomplished, friendships made, and professional strides, it saddens me a little that it’s all coming to an end. I’m not going to lie. But the closing of this chapter makes me extremely excited and hopeful for the future, even in the midst of what’s going on around us. I look at it like this: life might not be normal, and graduation may be pushed back to December, but things will always be what you make them. The times we are in now are showing me once again what I learned to be true through every adversity I’ve faced in life thus far; that you yield the power to create the life you want, the only one standing in your way is you.

Congratulations class of 2020!!! Now to create the lives you want.


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