My Goodbye To College

My Goodbye To College

This is it, my journey has finally come to an end.
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This is officially my last post as an Odyssey content creator and St. Thomas Aquinas College undergrad student. I have been a part of Odyssey as a content creator for two years now. Since the end of my sophomore year, I have been writing and creating on this platform. I am so thankful and so blessed to have been able to document my last two years of college and basically express myself in every way. I am officially done with undergrad; as of Friday, I graduate. I walk away from this part of my life forever. I started my journey in college, as a shaky, jittery 17 year old boy, and I leave a successful, defined, confident 21 year old man.

College truly changed my life. As I close the book on my last four years as an undergraduate, I am so thankful for everything everyone has done for me and given me. The transformation in my life started the day I began my journey here. STAC changed my life. When I left high school, I was full of regrets and I was deeply depressed because I felt like I did not have the experience I wished for until the end and at the end, I felt it all ended too quickly. College has been a consistently beautiful journey. I have no regrets.

Everything I’ve done here, all the wonderful people I’ve met and the incredible friends and professors. All of my connections have changed my life. In high school, my voice did not matter. I felt like I did not matter. I had zero confidence and did not feel good about myself. But college changed that. To have my voice matter changed my life. I now have the confidence I always wished for. I have the tools and education to begin my life. I got to do it all: work almost every campus job,write and create content, be a part of every campus event, win a leadership award, meet my best friends and truly live my life.

The last four years made me fearless and confident and made me the man I am today. I have grown on the inside and found myself. I am forever in debt and grateful to this amazing college for changing my life and reviving me. I got a new lease on life and for that I am truly thankful. STAC made all my dreams come true. The last four years have been more wonderful than I could’ve asked for. I’ve learned so much and my life has changed for the better. Every year my confidence grew and I found myself more. I have no regrets. I did everything I wanted, I made my dreams come true. I’ve had the confidence to do everything I wanted and chase all my dreams. This is where I was meant to be. Thank you for everything. I thank God everyday for sending me to STAC and changing my life forever. I had the confidence do things I never even realized I that were possible. I made changes that I never would have done before, without the confidence I gained in college. I got my ears pierced and changed my hair. More than anything on the outside, it's inside that changed. Confidence. Things I never would have had the guts to do in the past. I have had one of the best college experiences anyone could ever had. Towards the end of my journey, I was nicknamed the Mayor of STAC, which feels like such an honor. Every opportunity I was given at STAC, I made the most of it and maximized all my time and opportunities. I got everything one student could out of the college and that is an amazing feel. I hope and also know I left behind a positive legacy and impression at STAC and have made my mark there.

As i write my goodbye and say my goodbyes to my life as I have known it for four years, I feel ready to move on to start the next chapter. I am so looking forward to the next chapter. This journey in college has been the most influential so far in my life. STAC has been my everything from 17 to 21. I am so grateful to have been on this campus from 2014 to 2018. This is were I was meant to be. Although I am going to miss the social aspects, my amazing professors, all the incredible people I have met, I have done it all over the last four years. One of my favorite Maroon 5 songs is "Payphone." The one lyric in particular resonates with me at this very moment Wednesday May 9, just two days before my graduation is "But even the sun sets in paradise." I love this because the last four years have been like paradise for me.I know it's over now, but I feel so good. I am leaving with no regrets. This college experience I had changed my life for the better because I have been able to do everything I wanted, and become the man I was always meant to me. To have confidence and have my dreams come true has meant everything to me. Never did I imagine or think that college would change my life. I am so ready to begin the next phase of my life and take everything I have learned the last four years and truly start my life. It's truly bittersweet because I will miss this part of my life, but I always knew it was going end, and I'm glad to go out on my own terms. To end things my way. This is what I always wanted out of life and college and I got everything I wished for and more. I proved myself and everyone else wrong and made my dreams come true. This is goodbye and thank you. Thank you STAC for changing my life forever. I cannot wait to walk down that aisle and get my diploma.

My favorite goodbye quotes and song lyrics:

OneRepublic "I Lived"

"I, I did it all I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give,I saw so many places, the things that I did, Yeah with every broken bone. I swear I lived"

In no particular order, I want to thank: Mr James Nawoichyk, Carolee Stoll, Dr. Christina Pratt, Dr Dewitt, Dr. Stacy Sewell, Professor Monica Wendel, Dr. Wagner, Professor Elizabeth Luisi, Professor Nina Belissio, David Eng, Dr. Chayet, Trevor, Professor Maria Gaston De Simone ,Sharon, Shamima, Virginia, Professor Rotschild, Danielle Kobryn, Kaitlyn Decker, Denise Pawlowksi, Sue Kopac and the entire Spartan Grille team, especially Vicki and Christina. I want to thank everyone for what they have done for me. How you all have changed my life and blessed and impacted me. Anyone I have forgotten, I'm so thankful for you too. I want to thank Nicole Perez and Jackie Kasper, you both know how I feel about you. I couldn't have it without you two in my lives. You guys have been my everything the last four years. I want to thank Linda Almazan. I couldn't have made it through freshman year without you, thank you for always my sister and friend. Thank you Ariana, my first EIC. Thank you Bianca my current EIC. Thank you above all to God and then my family.

Cover Image Credit: John Bhatti

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Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Because most other majors can't kill someone accidentally by adding wrong.
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College is hard. Between studying for numerous amounts of tests and balancing eating, working out, maintaining a social life, and somehow not breaking your bank account, it’s no wonder a common conversation among students is “how many mental breakdowns did you have this week?” Every major will pose its own challenges; that’s truth. Nursing school, however, is a special kind of tough that only other nursing majors can understand.

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Nurses are the backbone and unsung hero of healthcare. Their job is to advocate for the patient, collaborate care among all other healthcare team members, carry out physician orders, recognize and report patient progress (or lack thereof), run interference for the patient with any unwanted visitors, research and validate evidence based practice, all while maintaining a certain aurora of confidence for patients and their loved ones that “everything will be okay” and “I’ve got this under control”. If that sounds like a lot; that’s because it is. The majority of skills that we learn that make good nurses cannot actually be taught in theory classes. It’s the hours of actual practice and a certain knack for caring for people- all people- that makes a good nurse great. The countless, unrelenting hours that are spent on the floor in clinical humble us, we know that we’re not great yet, but we’re trying.

Our professors expect us to be humble as well. Nurses do not seek gold stars for their actions, instead the precedence that is set for us to that we “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”. Most nursing programs grading scales are different. To us, a failing grade isn’t actually getting a 69 or lower, it’s an 80. And that makes sense; no one would want a nurse who only understand 70% of what is happening in the body. We have to understand the normal body response, what happens when things go wrong, why it happens the way it does, and how to properly intervene. We want to learn, it interests us, and we know that the long theory classes and the hard days on the floor are just to make us better. However, any triumph, anytime you do well, whatever small victory that may feel like for you, it just what is supposed to happen- it’s what is expected, and we still have much to learn.

I look back on my decision to take on nursing school, and I often find myself questioning: why? There are so many other majors out there that offer job security, or that help people, or would challenge me just as much. But, when I think of being a nurse- it’s what fulfills me. There’s something that the title holds that makes me feel complete (and that same fact is going to resonate with anyone who wants to love their job). I wouldn’t change the decision I made for anything, I love what I am learning to do and I feel that it’s part of what makes me who I am. The other students who I have met through nursing school are some of the most amazing people I have ever come into contact with, and the professors have helped me understand so much more about myself than I thought possible.

Nursing is treating and understanding the human response. Meaning that it’s not just the disease process, or the action of the medication, or the care that we provide, but that nurses treat the way in which people deal, react, feel, and cope with good news, bad news, terrible procedures, hospital stays and being completely dependent on other people. And the fact of the matter is that all people are different. There is no one magic treatment that will always work for every patient. In addition to course work, the clinical hours, the passion and drive to want to be a nurse, and the difficulty that comes with any medical profession, we have to understand each individual patient, as people and not their illness. And, in order to do that so much self discovery goes on each day to recognize where you are and how you are coping with everything coming your way.

What is taught in nursing school goes far beyond just textbook information or step by step procedures. We have to learn, and quickly, how to help and connect with people on a level which most struggle to accomplish in a lifetime. It's a different kind of instruction, and it either takes place quickly or not at all. The quality of nurse you become depends on it. Nursing school is different, not harder or better than any other school, just different.

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Cover Image Credit: stocksnap.io

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 49

Language is a powerful tool.

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Welcome back! We made our way to a meeting with Dr. Shikaki, a Palestinian demographer--basically, that means he takes polls to see what the population's opinion is. It also means he can see how the opinion changes, as the polls started decades ago.

Again, as I talk about his message, keep in mind that this is his unique narrative, and it is different from other narratives out there--both on the Palestinian and Israeli side. He does give a very factual talk, though, due to the nature of his job. He essentially takes all the narratives of everyone else to craft a blanket-statement narrative; however, we should keep in mind that blanket-statements are almost never 100% accurate.

In addition, because he is able to write the questions being asked in his polls, there could be certain narratives left out. Of course, if you've taken any statistics class, you know about nonresponse bias and other biases that come out of censuses and samples. To my knowledge, Dr. Shikaki's polls are only in the West Bank, so Gazan Palestinians aren't even included here.

The first thing he tells us is that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are dissatisfied with their government, the Palestinian Authority. The approval rating for the PA is only about 20-25%, and 80% of Palestinians surveyed said that the government is corrupt in some way. A large group of secular Palestinians said that they support the liberal values that are associated with democracy, such as press freedom, gender equality, minority rights, and most importantly, regularly-held elections.

Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Palestinians who support a democratic political system (because they are dissatisfied with the current corruption, as the current system is not giving them a very high standard of living) rose to over 80%.

Some liberal social values are not as widely accepted because many of these liberal values are a very Westernized way of living, and Arab culture differs from Western culture in many ways; neither is better than the other. However, Palestinians do want the freedom of press and less corruption in political parties. Currently, they do not think they have an independent judiciary.

Dr. Shikaki explained that Palestinians can be split, for the most part, into "nationalists," who are mostly secular, and "Islamists," who are mostly religiously observant and non-secular. Nationalists believe in a separation of the church and state, and they are first and foremost Palestinians (compared to Islamists, who are first and foremost Muslims--and Palestinians second). Fatah is the largest political faction within the nationalists.

Within nationalism, there are mainstream nationalists and leftist nationalists. The overwhelming majority of nationalists are mainstream nationalists. They believe that though there is a separation of church and state, there should be cooperation between the state and religion; both can work together. It is not an antagonistic relationship. 55% of the entire Palestinian public would identify with mainstream nationalism (15% would identify with leftist nationalism, and 30% would identify with Islamism).

The smaller section of nationalism is leftist nationalism. They believe that the state can eradicate the importance placed on religion if need be. On the other end is Islamism, which believes that state and religion cannot be separated. Parliament cannot rule in a way that is opposed to Islamic rule and Muslim values. Again, they are first and foremost Muslims, and after that comes their identity of Palestinians and Arabs.

They show more support for a rule by Hamas in the West Bank because Hamas tends to have similar values as them. In the West Bank, about a third of the population supports Hamas over the PA. In Gaza, there is higher support for Hamas, and Hamas was actually democratically elected after the second intifada.

The public in the West Bank sometimes blames nationalists for corruption, and since nationalists are associated with the current government, Hamas could actually win a popular vote right now--which is why the PA has been holding off elections (which, to Palestinians, is another sign of corruption).

Now that we've seen how Palestinians view themselves, we need to see how Palestinians view their Israeli neighbors--and how they view the possibility of peace. It's a lot to unpack, so this concludes this chapter, and I will be talking about it in the next section!

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