Today’s blog post is written by Mercedes Vega from Surprise, Ariz. Over the past few years, Mercedes has written several blogs for us and graduated with a degree in elementary education this past Saturday. We will miss her smiling face on campus, but know she is headed out into the world to make a difference in the lives of children.
As I write this, I am sitting in my favorite spot on TU’s campus. The library steps have served as more than just the most photogenic spot on campus. They are my place of solace.
Feeling stressed? The steps have the answer.
Need a place to talk? The steps have heard more secrets than you can imagine.
Can’t sleep? The steps are pretty comfortable to sit, or lie down and on the best nights you can see some stars around the lights from downtown.
Need motivation? The steps overlook a city of possibilities and where you could be if you just pass your classes.
Killing time? The steps are close to wherever you are coming from or going to.
Bored? The steps are great for people watching.
Do you see the trend? The steps have the answers.
Now try to imagine my predicament since graduation is single digit days away. If you’re a senior in high school, I know you can understand this one. You probably have your equivalent to the steps. It might be a physical place, a best friend or a supportive teacher. We all have the one thing that we claim as our own and it is about to belong to someone else. Our time is up. We have to move on to bigger and better things.
But what about everything we are about to leave behind?
Last week, my best friend told me I should be proud of the legacy I have left behind. I truly am not one for public recognition, but if graduation isn’t a time to do some self-reflection and celebrate successes, I don’t know what is.
Since I have been at TU, I was a founding member of a sorority on campus. I was a University Ambassador and got to share my love for this school to people I now see around campus every day. I was the outstanding Administrative Coordinator my first year working in housing. I am the first Elementary Education major to complete the honors program. I was named student teacher of the year. I will graduate magna cum laude, and I made countless memories along the way, including the wonderful friends I have by my side. I truly left a legacy here.
Just like that, May 7th will be here and I have to be proud of what I could do and at peace with everything I did not manage to squeeze in.
In the face of graduation, I am left to ask who I want to be now. It’s the same question I had at high school graduation. Your slate is about to be wiped clean. Who are you? Who do you want to be?
The best answers I have to those questions are these. I am a college graduate. I am capable of putting in late hours to get the job done. I am ready to work in the public schools of a city that I fell in love with because of TU. Most importantly, I want to be the best version of myself.
I challenge all of the high school seniors faced with the same questions to be your best self as you come to college. Who knows what that actually looks like, but have that as your goal. When you get here, take on a challenge that intimidates you. Go out for a sports team, join a club, start a club, take a challenging class, do all the reading for even just one class, find your people, find your version of my library steps, and leave a legacy behind.