2018 always seemed like a far-off year that I simply used to fill out the “expected graduation year” section of job and internship applications. Yet, here we are on the final day of April 2018. In five short days, everything that I’ve grown accustomed to in the last four years will change.
Because I’m going to grad school here at OHIO, many people try to tell me nothing will actually change. I laugh until I tear up in sadness at that response. I won’t walk into Schoonover lobby able to find at least two shining faces of friends. I won’t run into my best friend on the street and decide to ditch our responsibilities for a much needed dinner and vent session. I won’t stand in front of the PR stars every Monday night at 6 p.m. in the Friends of the Library Room of Alden. I won’t host Thanksgiving dinner for professors and PRSSA members. I won’t be making memories with my best friends here the same way any longer. There are so many things I won’t be able to do because the people that have shaped these four years will be gone.
However, there will be so many things I will do. I will watch as my best friends take what they learned here on these bricks to real jobs as they begin changing the world. I will check back in with the Scripps PRSSA Chapter as they morph into strong leaders and an even more successful Chapter. I will visit my alumni friends in their new, exciting cities. I will follow my purpose and continue mentoring college students. I will learn and grow in my favorite corner of the earth. Though I’m sad and will miss everyone deeply, I will be okay. And you will, too.
To the freshmen who can’t believe you just finished your first year, congratulations. Cherish that feeling. You accomplished so much and even made time to join PRSSA, so you’re already ahead of the game. To the sophomores who are anxious about your first internships, or lack thereof, look to yourself, not to others. I know I’ve been preaching this, but someone else’s perfect plan is not the only way. You know your truth and abilities—now go show everyone. To the juniors who are about to become the go-to advice-givers, problem-solvers, panic-calmers and faces of the Chapter, you can handle it. Each of your three years on this campus and in this Chapter have prepared you for this. Let your natural leadership abilities shine through. I am filled with confidence in you and excitement for you.
And finally, to my fellow graduates who may be feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, terrified, sad, excited, anxious, proud and everything in-between, thank you. I thank you for my first memories at this university—many involving awkward orientation scavenger hunts, endless amounts of snacks, road trips, silly socials, final exam panics, celebrations after passing those finals and figuring out this college life together.
I’m still not sure how we grew from horrifically nerdy 18-year-olds nervously chatting away in old Boyd dining hall to empowered adults ready to take on the “real world.” I do know we had plenty of help from the mentors and friends who invited us to events, helped us with our resumes and guided us with words of wisdom. I do know we have done this for those younger than us, too. And, I do know that we are going to be just fine because we will take these lessons and friendships we made on these bricks with us wherever we go, even if it’s not far at all.
Taylor Dilley is a graduating journalism-strategic communication major. She is the outgoing President of Scripps PRSSA. You can catch her in Athens next year as she begins her time in Graduate School for Student Affairs or on Twitter @taylor_dilley