A Thank You To The University Of Kentucky
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A Thank You To The University Of Kentucky

These circumstances, while unfortunate, do not begin to define our experience as wildcats.

A Thank You To The University Of Kentucky

"It's not about working hard, it's about working together. You have to care more about the team than you do about yourself". — John Calipari.

Coach Cal said it best. While our BBN community is facing unprecedented changes right now in our functionality, scheduling, and activities — this community is one of unwavering strength and resilience. A resilience and strength that brings us closer in times of peril, with newfound gratitude and durability.

As a current senior at the University, news of the transition to online classes through the end of the semester and the postponing of our commencement ceremony was devastating. I know I speak for nearly every senior when I say it is simply impossible to honor our time at this amazing institution adequately, and to have our four years end so abruptly is tragic.

But let us remember it's the journey, not the destination. It's the memories, knowledge, and relationships we've gained along the way — that cannot be confined to a blue cap or fancy piece of paper given to us at the beginning of May.

These circumstances, while unfortunate, do not begin to define our experience as wildcats.

Experience is defined as "a particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing something". Those instances become unforgettable moments in time, forming memories that leave an indelible impact on our lives. Yes, our experience ended all too suddenly, but may we find comfort, peace, and joy in the instances that shaped who we are and who we became at the University of Kentucky.

The instances that enriched our experiences as wildcats and do, in fact, prove that we bleed blue.

Like when we first stepped foot onto this campus as naive, excited, and eager freshmen. Remember how terrifying it was walking from North Campus to Central Campus to find a class, with Willy T and POT serving as your compass? Even if you got lost, you ended up at Taco Bell or Einstein so it was a win/win situation.

Or experiencing your first Caturday during football season and learning that being a Cats football fan will substantially increase your blood pressure. But hearing the crowd erupt in My Old Kentucky Home will undoubtedly give you goosebumps every time.

It's days at Keeneland where the sun is shining just as strong as the drinks being poured and, man, a hot dog has never tasted better.

Or having your first ice cream cone at Rupp Arena and questioning why anyone would ever go to Dairy Queen after that.

It's watching Quickley make a team high of 62 3-pointers and 92.3 percent at the free-throw line.

It's being packed in like sardines at Tin Roof every Saturday of second semester. Seeing Big Red becomes an integral part of your weekend and their margaritas a staple in your diet — and you wouldn't have it any other way.

It's winning the Citrus Bowl last year and the Belk Bowl this past year, thinking maybe we could be a football school after all?

It's racing to State Street after every win in March, not knowing if your heart is going to burst with pride or burst from the sheer energy you exerted to get yourself there. Either way, it's always worth it. Banners earned and couches burned, baby.

It's Two Keys Tuesdays and Thirsty Thursdays at Stagger.

It's sitting in a truck bed at the Cliff rooting on the baseball team any given night of the week.

It's walking through the new Gatton Student Center in awe and thinking that's my damn school.

It's late nights at Willy T that you thought would never end, yet merely characterized your academic career.

It's brilliant, supportive, and inspiring professors whose lessons transcend well beyond the classroom. It's an institution with a multi-faceted mission educating, serving, and innovating the community.

It's arriving in Lexington, Kentucky four years ago naive, excited, and eager freshmen and leaving today proud, intelligent, and confident alums.

As easy as it is to dwell on the negative implications of all that has happened, I bring us back to Coach Cal's quote. It's about the team, not us as individuals. Rather than focusing on what has been taken from us, let's focus on what this University has given us.

A resilience and strength that brings us closer in times of peril. Experiences that we will cherish for a lifetime. And a little blue in our veins.

In the wise words of Nick Richards, "thank you to everyone that was a part of the journey." And an enormous thank you to the University that fostered intellectual, professional, and personal growth in ways I never could have imagined.

Class of 2020, though I may not have known every one of you personally — each of you has played a role in my experience at the University of Kentucky. From passing your smiling faces on campus to running on treadmills next to you at the rec center, your positive presence is what makes this student body so unique. Good luck to everyone in their future endeavors, I can't wait to see all the amazing things we accomplish.

Anyone want to be a fifth-year with me?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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