Ode to Agnes

On Saturday, I became a college graduate.  
The students lined up all around me were full of enthusiasm and excitement.  To my left was a Chinese woman and to my right was a "Woodruff scholar" from New Zealand.  Typical Agnes Scott. I looked out into the crowd of onlookers as we made our way through the audience and stopped before a large white tent where the faculty, President Kiss and our commencement speaker would be seated.  In the weeks leading up to this moment I had felt... quite honestly, apathetic about my college graduation.  

As a transfer student coming into the school two years later than everyone else in the class of 2010 (my original graduating class), I never did meet all of my class mates, which would have been easy to do considering the size of each class.  As a student who hadn't been on campus for the past academic year, I certainly didn't know many of the 2011 students with whom I would soon be receiving my diploma.  I wasn't weighed down by a grand number of cords around my neck and I hadn't receieved a great grant or scholarship to do anything spectacular following graduation. 
But at that moment, as I walked up to my assigned seat before the tent, I was struck with a multitude of reasons as to why it was so important to recognize my time at Agnes Scott. 

While I wasn't the typical college student, I did learn what I will stand up for and what I can live without while at Agnes Scott. I did learn what it feels like to get fired up about academics, women's rights, human rights, politics and equality. I did meet people who were different from me.  I did make friendships with women who care about my well-being, not because of where I came from or what I look like, but because they saw in me the same driven, dedicated woman that they saw in themselves which fosters a greater bond than sharing race, class or religion. I did learn how to speak pubicly about topics that I enrage and inspire me (in English & in French.)  I did, in two years, start and finish a challenging and rewarding major in addition to finishing a major in French.  I did find a career choice that is important to me for what it will bring to my spirit and not to my bank account. I did learn to measure my success by the level of change I can help create in another's life.

Agnes Scott was a place of safe haven for me three years ago.  There, my strength was restored, I found incredible mentors, discovered my passions and was encouraged to do what I love.  

Awarding thanks...
I thank my parents for the funds to attend Agnes Scott. For picking me up when I was down, for believing in me and pointing me to God's word in the midst of confusion and chaos. Thanks to my brother and my sister for never giving up on me, even when I was a complete pill.  To my grandparents, I thank you for encouraging me, believing in me and living out "determination." 

I thank friends at Agnes Scott: Indira, Margaret and Helen, Katy and Darah who welcomed me, supported and loved me just for who I was then and am today. 

Thanks to girls at Wofford, Caroline and Sarah Beth, Kelly, Natalie and Stewart, all of you saw that a change needed to be made and supported me in my decision to leave. 
A huge thanks to incredible professors, Dr. Lund, Dr. Williams, Dr. Knowlton and Dr. Scharbo-DeHaan for pushing me to hurdle obstacles; thanks also for all the feminist relationship advice!  
A sincere thanks to Jeff who was proud of me no matter what grades I made and who found the positives in hard circumstances; he fought me in spite and in challenge of my insecurities.
To my extended family who provided me with advice & affection and welcomed me into their homes. 
And to God for bringing me out of the darkness and into the light, for having a plan for me that was and is far greater and more rewarding than I could ever have imagined.