When you begin your first day of college, graduation seems so far away. Like everything else in this crazy life, those years, however long it takes you, fly by. Before you know it, you are ending your life as a student and entering the real world. It doesn’t hit you until you realize you are in line at the bookstore picking up your cap and gown. That’s when you realize, oh shit, it’s actually happening. For me, I never thought this day would come. But in just a few days it will finally be my turn to walk across the stage and get my diploma. It took a lot of hard work to get there but I didn’t do it alone.

With the help of endless pounds of coffee, I survived endless amounts of papers, projects, presentations, and exams. Coffee got me to stay awake long enough to do anyone of those things. With the help of Google, I was able to pass countless of homework assignments and actually understanding the material. With the help of actually opening a textbook and reading, I was able to grasp basic concepts of the material at hand. With the help from a glass of wine here and there, I was able to keep my stress levels just low enough to not lose my mind completely. And with the help of Netflix, I was able to forget about all the work I had to for a short amount of time.

I could have picked any school in the country, but I am thankful for the university I chose. With the help of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, I was able to find a home away from home. I was able to meet people along the way that I could relate to when it came to the average struggles of a college student. With the help of this university, I was able to figure out what my true passions are. I was able to become part of Habitat for Humanity and meet some awesome people, travel to some pretty cool locations, and help families in need of more affordable housing. With the help of UWGB, I was able to go to a school that helped me focus directly on the end goal of graduating.

Without the support of my family and friends back home, I would have never gotten to this point. With the help of my parents, I was able to believe I can actually graduate and do it away from home. I was able to talk to them anytime I felt home sick and got to see them when they would visit me. With the help of my friends at home, I was able to know that I had friends that would have my back no matter where life takes me. It’s because of my support system of my grandpa, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, best friends, old coworkers and even my dog, that I had the strength to jump out of my comfort zone and make my goal of graduating a reality.

The best thing I ever did was leave my small town in Illinois and go away to a school that was far enough that I could put my focus only on school. If I didn’t do that, I know I would have never had 100% focus on just graduating. Now, the goal that I’ve waited five years for is finally here. It is time to say goodbye to a place I’ve fallen in love with, and time to welcome an exciting new adventure in my life. Here’s to embracing new beginnings! Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone, something beautiful is waiting for you on the other side.