The time has come for me to say my goodbyes. As the last week of classes have come to a close, I have found myself in a period of reflection. Last week, every class and shift at work was not just my last for the semester but the last for my undergraduate career.
On Thursday morning, I walked out of a University of Richmond class for the last time.
It was the same for my shift at the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, followed by a short shift at the Office of Student Development, both on the third floor of Tyler Haynes Commons.
Thinking about the fact that I will no longer roam these halls is certainly upsetting, but the memories will remain for years to come. That includes my time as your resident know-it-all, which has truly been a highlight of my senior year.
While writing to you all and answering your thought-provoking questions, I’ve been able to learn a lot about myself in the meantime. I have a habit of giving out advice that I could honestly use for myself. So, for my last column, here’s a highlight reel of my best pieces of advice to leave you all and myself as we close out another year at the University of Richmond.
Outgrowing relationships in college? Here’s what I noticed: “For years, our participation in school has shaped our lives, including that of our relationships. I think that college, however, offers us opportunities to see ourselves outside of our academic identity. It’s here that we begin to follow new rules, pursue new interests and, possibly, new people. I think that what you’re going through is what many would call ‘growing pains,’ which extend beyond the fateful puberty period.”
My advice on looking for internships that you’ll actually enjoy: “The first step to finding an internship is taking into account your own interests. Having a job that you don’t enjoy, both part-time and full-time is absolutely dreadful. Find what makes you excited, what makes you happy — or in my case, things that make you angry — where you can see yourself making a difference.”
A quick word of advice for those struggling with competitiveness: “Inherent in competition is comparison. If you need someone to outperform, make it yourself.”
Here’s what I added about managing relationships from here and home: “The constant, nonetheless, between your relationships here and at home is that those people care about you. No matter where you are in life, you should be able to have honest conversations about hardships and obstacles you’ve encountered with the people who care about you.”
We all go through breakups — so here’s some advice to deal with it and start moving forward: “As gross as it seems, it never hurts to talk about the things that are upsetting you to someone you trust. In fact, you may learn a little bit more about yourself and the nature of your former relationship after talking it out with someone else.”
I am once again letting you all know about the best and easiest college meal I’ve come across: “White Wine and Garlic Butter Bucatini Pasta is one of the easiest – and cost effective – dishes, in my opinion. This recipe is great for getting rid of those last few cloves of garlic or the pasta sitting in the corner of the pantry. The recipe calls for pretty simple ingredients: white wine, garlic, butter, heavy cream and shredded parmesan cheese. I also used some spaghetti that I’d had sitting in the pantry for a minute. If you’re short on time, it takes less than an hour, and it is fully worth it. The best dish I’ve made this year!”
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Here’s my last piece of advice, which had to do with peer pressure: “I had to learn a long time ago that nobody’s path is linear. Graduating, getting a job, starting a family and every other decision we see as so large becomes so much more manageable when we claim it as our own. And that means deciding when to do things on our own time.”
As I close out my last column of the year, I want to — of course — leave you all with one last piece of advice. Before starting my column, I had never written an opinion for The Collegian. I had only written news stories and features while managing our copy editing staff as copy chief. This was completely new for me, but it was something I saw a need for; at the time, The Collegian hadn’t had an advice column for over a year or so.
I say all this to say, if you see an opportunity to make a difference you should do it. As cliche as it sounds, take that jump. I had no idea if my column would catch on back in August when I pitched the idea to the rest of the editorial team. Just last week, I had so many leftover questions, I had to do a speed round to answer them all.
You never know the amount of difference you could make within a community — within the world — without trying first.
With that, I wish you all the best!
Contact writer Madyson Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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