This past month has been one of lasts.
Last assignments, papers, to-do lists. Last late-night gatherings, convocations, well wishes.
As graduation approaches, we, seniors, are moving on. There will be new cities, new jobs, new friends — so much to look forward to as we clutch our degrees and show the real world our best brave faces.
Yet, I find myself holding on tight to the lasts.
It’s not difficult to drag myself up the hill to class each morning. Not anymore. I regret every complaint, because now, heading into my final week of classes, I wish I had more. Just a little longer. Just a few more weeks to learn, to grow, to study alongside like-minded people who adore the things that make this life so rich.
Learning is a lifelong venture for which Hillsdale has prepared us well. But I will miss these classrooms, lectures, and professors, who give us everything in hopes of planting a seed that will one day flourish. Here, we begin to learn what things are. Out there, we will understand why that matters.
I grew up here. In just four years, I have lived and loved alongside people who are now lifelong friends. I am not the same person I was when I walked into Olds dormitory, and they know that. I’ve learned much from Hillsdale, but I’ve learned more from my friends. They have shown me what faithfulness, kindness, and dedication should look like. I will carry that with me wherever I go. Perhaps we didn’t realize it in the day-to-day mundane, but we are none the same for knowing each other, and we are all better for it.
These next two weeks could be the last time we, seniors, are in the same place with the friends Hillsdale brought us. Cherish the lasts — the last laughs, soulful conversations, and heart-warming fellowship. We will see each other again soon, but we will be different, just as we are different now than when we first met.
It’s difficult to put into words how much I owe Hillsdale College. In truth, I owe it everything. I still remember the sense of awe and wonder I felt walking these halls as a student for the first time, the pride I felt wearing the white and blue. I wish I had not taken that for granted, that I had kept my love for this school in the forefront of my mind, that I had cherished it more when I had the chance. I have that same pride now, but it is a different kind. Because now, I understand the mission of Hillsdale more fully, and I recognize that it is my duty to further it, even after I walk across that stage. Seniors: This place is our responsibility. No matter where we go, it is ours to keep, ours to bear.
Four years is not enough. But no time here would ever be enough. I envy the underclassmen who have the long collegiate road before them. Cherish it, because soon your time will be up. It comes quickly, leaving you with little time to prepare for the loss of a home, this place, Hillsdale. Strive for knowledge, nurture lasting friendships, and treasure your lasts, whatever they may be, here beneath banners of white and blue.