Friday, May 12, 2017

Graduation, here's to the next beginning

I didn't know if I would have time to write something before I graduated, but right now, as I sit in my room and listen to the dryer tumble and my breath soften and the stillness of this present moment, I realize it would be a disservice not to write how big and beautiful this part of my life feels.

Tomorrow, I receive my Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Professional Writing.

I get asked all the time what I will do with an English degree. Despite how silly I feel the question is, I have never felt the need to defend getting a Liberal Arts degree. I have felt the need to warn people- a degree in the arts reveals truths and depths that are often hidden at life’s surface. The choice to dive in is one for those who are a little daring, a little curious. I’ve learned more about what it means to be kind, compassionate, and human in these last five years than I ever expected. Reading and writing does more than improve your spelling and comprehension, it reminds you that these lives of ours are complex and complicated and never a singular suffering. I’ve learned some of the most difficult things to say are the things we write and read about. I’ve learned that pages can be bound with hope and we can clench words to our chest, knowing that they are our guide to freedom. I’ve learned years and years can pass but we read the same things because we have the same questions. I've learned we never, ever have to stop listening to the voice in us that begs to create something. If anything, your calling turns into a screaming when you step into the place you are meant to be.

Studying English Literature revealed that six-year-old me wasn’t aimlessly writing from her top bunk when her family was asleep on lazy Sundays- she was writing her story. She wrote because she had to. Writing is what I’ve done when I’m my most happy and my most not-so-happy. Writing has got me into the habit of erasing and editing what doesn’t fit. Making big, breathy room for what does. Letting things go. Believing in a beginning. Beginning again.

That’s the beauty of this whole life of ours, isn’t it? That we get to begin again. Whenever feels fit. The beauty is that there is a place and a space for all of us and whether it takes five years or fifty years to discover and pursue what we love, we get there.

The “getting there” has been my favorite part of college. Getting to freshmen year and studying the wrong things when all I could do was write. Getting to sophomore year and discovering there was a whole department that felt the weight of words and loved them like I did. Taking a trip to Bali, Indonesia (alone, like any good melodramatic 19-year-old does) and feeling so proud that I was the soul I get to care for. Getting to junior year and beginning an internship at the Las Vegas Sun, and then taking a semester abroad, learning to love and forgive myself in Pau, France (while eating my weight in baguettes and patisseries). Getting to junior year 2.0 and having the most influential academic year of my career. I can’t even sum up the magic that each of my professors brought into each lecture. And now I’ve gotten here, year five, and I realize what maybe I’ve always known: everything has been as it should. The missteps, the wrong turns, the questioning, the longing, the hurting, all of it. Because how else would I be here? It took all these years and all the compassion, inspiration, hope, and a whole lot of beautiful books and people to read them with. Every day I thought was just a mundane happening was magic lighting my whole life, and I am endlessly grateful.

I am in this place now where I realize I never uncovered my path, I simply unraveled it. Like a spool undoing itself but this one from my very core- the path I am on today has always innately been apart of me. Without all my incredible professors, friends, family, and roughly three cups of coffee every day, I don’t think I would have had the courage to walk it.

Thank you to all those who have supported me. Thank you specifically to my mom for carrying what was too heavy for my own shoulders, and reminding me I’d never have to bear the weight alone. She has always told me, “education is the one thing no one can take away from you.”

And here I am, year five, with my own suitcase full of knowledge and the overwhelmingly wonderful feeling that I have everything I need to go anywhere I please.

Here’s to the next beginning.



  1. Always so eloquently put, Katie. Congratulations!!!

  2. lovely thoughts written so eloquently! congratulations!


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