College! College! College! Those thousands of hours, those hundreds of days, and few years that flew by yet changed you and are here then gone. Yes, they are! The days you are there for class but stuck in your car from anxiety and can't get out, or simply late, or can't get out of bed, The days your two and three hours early for class, or even the all-nighters and so on. The days you pass the days you fail or as they say "win some and lose some!" The days you cry, cry and cry! The days you say you will quit! The days you question everything, yourself, your intelligence and very basic, knowledge. The days of utter darkness and depression, of what it all comes down to, and where you think it ends! Where you say, you will give up, and not just in school! The days that come out of nowhere literally, the ones you do not see coming, and the ones that you do, the things that you wished for that finally do. The days you need somebody, the days you lose someone and the days you find and lose yourself. The days you explore and find new things. The days you have to stop and take a step back, and the days you get to start again. The days your eyes are open, and the days your eyes are closed. The days of comparison the days of procrastination, the days of absolute zero sleep. The days of self-loathing, the days of $1, or negative $1, and the days of no gas and not just in regards to mindset. The days of I will not, I cannot, I should not, Oh I"ll be back in time. The days of "I am going to fail," but you do not somehow. Thank God for extra credit because it deserves its own sentence. Syllabus week? Oh and the classes where your point something away from that needed grade. Not one point, or even half a point so, "blah, blah, merely, merely, up does not my GPA!" The days of refresh, freeze and, 11:59. The days of past due, due, and extensions. The days of I love my teacher, I really dislike my teacher and, umm who exactly is my teacher. The Days of No class, when is the class, * we had class! The days of Mom, and Mom and Mom and well I love you too Dad! The days of regret, and to be forgotten or vice-versa remembered. The days of kindness, the days of forgiveness, and meeting new faces. The days you think, you will not be friends, but they become your best friend! The days of rush, the days of tests, the days of work, game days and final testing days all leading to the countdown, and days to do it all again. These are the days, the college days, embraced and endured, that do not even begin to describe what college is really like!

These are the days that prepare us for life, and in the wise words of Taylor Swift "The tricky thing is yesterday we were just children playing soldiers, just pretending, dreaming dreams with happy endings, in backyards, winning battles with our wooden swords, but now we've stepped into a cruel world, where everybody stands and keeps score.” (Taylor Swift) This is true we were getting silver stars on report cards with smiley face stickers that could smell! Oh, and do not forget the participation awards. Yet, "Here you are, two steps ahead and staying on guard. Every lesson forms a new scar. They never thought you'd make it this far but turn around. Oh they've surrounded you. It's a showdown, and nobody comes to save you now. But you've got something they don't... You've just gotta keep your eyes open.” (Taylor Swift) Now, there are high expectations, and it is a cruel world. Therefore, we cannot fear the unknown. We must use it as fuel to wander and find adventure. Use it as an opportunity to find yourself. To learn, experience, and find your dreams. Always take it step by step. Let the ground shake and roar, and embrace where you are, and the heavy steps it takes to get there. You deserve freedom, and you deserve life. Live. Learn. Repeat. Don’t get lost in the dark of heart or, too high to see the truth. Somehow, somewhere, solid ground will be found. Above all, keep fighting because somehow, someway I must know, you must know, all should know, we are not alone.

For suddenly one day you will run behind that college building in your heels, with a board in your hand that dangles with a tassel, and you wonder why after all that's been endured just a flying board and paper are in your hand. Just kidding! But really it should be a crown and gold paper! But you will run behind the building kneel down and look up to the sky and thank the one who made that sky, and for a moment sit in awe, and that bittersweet moment will bring tears to your eyes! Because YOU will know what you did and what you endured and sacrificed! The things that people saw and the things that people did not see that overall took you to get there will finally have paid off! People may say, "Oh it is school, and sure it is challenging, but you will get through it.” Yet, it is not even remotely, what is reflected on the paper or even what is reflected on the school emblem that matters all those years. Yet, what is reflected in your step! Most importantly, when you get up and leave, you are closing that chapter and realizing you are a different person. You must follow your heart and see where it takes you! Do not let this world outside break you or suck you in for they know not who you are. Know that new things are to be explored, and as you are moving on your dreams must never die! And to those who are graduating as PRINCE so magically states

I know times are changing

It's time we all reach out

For something new!

-Thank You so very much, To my beloved Parents, Mom, Dad, Paul, Steph and Jer, my family, friends, teachers, mentors and those along the way old and new that helped me on this road this journey! You are vital, and know who you are!

Finally- Alina R: Mathew 17:20