I'm at the point again: the end of another semester, and it's got me sentimental again.
Well, I say "again" as if this is like any other end of a regular semester, but it's not. This is my absolute last semester of college, and the fact that the ending came so quickly blows my mind more than I can say.
See, the ironic thing is, I wasn't even supposed to have this semester, and when I found out it was getting tacked on, I was beyond a plethora of emotions, ranging within shock, sadness and anger, and yet at the end and looking back at everything, this was the best semester of college I've ever had.
So now, for one last time, I'm reflecting on some of the most distinctive moments of this final semester before I walk across that stage in a few short weeks.
5. Taking my senior pictures.
Photo by Amy Windsor
I find it painfully ironic that this even made the list, but there's a few reasons I consider it one of the best.
Honestly, I was extremely nervous to be on the other side of a camera for once. If it wasn't for having two friends there with me, I probably would have backed out completely, to be honest.
But this was the first moment graduation felt real for me. This was the time I looked at myself in a mirror and felt like I was really at the end.
It's been a long college career, and there were times when I felt like it would never end. Nights I would stay up through anxiety attacks and mountains of homework crying and wondering when it would ever end.
Now, it is ending, and it's the most terrifying, yet utterly amazing, feeling. And the day I took these pictures showed me that somehow, with everything thrown at me, I made it.
4. My last trip out east before I head out west.
I've grown up on trips to the Smoky Mountains; they're what gave me my love of nature and hiking in the first place. So, getting to go out there one last time, and hiking in the place that gave me my love of the mountains and nature in general was really special.
On our final hike of our final day on this trip, I took a moment at the top of Whiteside Mountain and looked out, and not knowing when I would see that view again was a little scary.
But it was a humbling moment, because those mountains are a big part of who I am, and I know I'll absolutely be back there appreciating them again some day.
(Even though they tried to kill me on that hike.)
3. Covering sports for the Verm during this one last semester.
Photo by Karley Nugent
From the NOLA Bowl and the newly renovated Cajundome to the little photographer's square at the Tigue, I could write about this forever, and I plan to write quite a bit on it very soon. But for now, I hope my friends in sports coverage know how much they have impacted my life.
And how much I love each and every one of them.
But again, more on that later...
(And yes, Derek and Louis, I know you guys aren't in that picture. Don't worry, I'll make up for it. I promise.)
Photo by Karley Nugent
I feel like I don't even need to explain this one, because anyone who knows me even a little knows I'm completely obsessed with this dog.
And from that first day he walked into our apartment and curled up into my arms, I knew I loved him more than most of the people in my life.
His constant supply of energy and never ending peppiness has never failed to make me feel better after long days, and I'm so thankful he came into my life...even though he still chews everything up.
1. Getting offered my dream job.
Photo by Kathy Nugent
There really aren't words for this. The amount of nights throughout my college career I spent having anxiety attacks wondering what I would do career-wise after college seemed so big at the time, but now they seem insignificant.
I remember getting that phone call with that job offer and not even knowing what to respond other than yes. (I totally said something completely stupid like, "I'm 116 percent interested in this job.")
But the point is...I'm going home.
I am finally going back home.
Since that hot August day I left out of the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park in 2015, I have spent every day working to get back, and it's happening. In May, I'm going to be writing, videoing and taking pictures for my favorite place in the whole world.
I only wish I could find the words to accurately explain just how much that means to me.
For being a semester that wasn't supposed to happen, it's insane how much I enjoyed every moment of it.
And now I'm at the end of my undergraduate career. The swirl of emotions I feel is indescribable. So, all I can say is thank you. Thank you to everyone who was a part of these moments, and to all the countless others I didn't name.
To this university, I am forever in debt (both financially and emotionally) and beyond thankful for all of the wonderful memories I have made here.
So here's to this semester, and all of its ups and downs; it's been the best, and I'll never forget a single moment of it.
My only regret is that I didn't do more.