Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.
Well, it’s finally happened. After seven years in elementary, three years in middle school, four years in hell—I mean, high school—four years in college, too few years in childhood, too many years in puberty (altogether creating a whopping eighteen years of questioning my sanity), and unless/until such a time where I decide to go get a master’s degree somewhere, I’m done with school. I’ve had to have three graduation ceremonies: 8th grade, high school, and college. Nobody saw 8th grade graduation as a big deal…though then again, we didn’t think there was a lot to celebrate about going to high school. When 12th grade came and went, I was just glad to be done. Half of my graduating class was going to the same school as me in the fall, as were most of my friends, so I didn’t even look back when I left.
But college was a different story. I still have a lot of mixed feelings about being done. On one hand, chances are pretty good that I’m not going to miss three-hour exams, waking up at six in the morning every day to go to work, the school’s weather watch calling me in the middle of a storm telling me what I already know, or being woken up by a fire alarm because of boys who can’t cook and insist on doing so in the middle of the night. I won’t miss forcing my brain to focus during class, or staying up until past midnight to finish homework that I couldn’t care less about, or finding an empty table in the school dining hall. I can’t wait to read because I want to (and not because I have to). I can’t wait to find my own place to live. I can’t wait to get more work done on my book series. I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me. But most of all, I can’t wait for the day where I finally become a published author.
Despite the fact that there’s a lot that I won’t miss, there’s still a lot that I will. I’ll miss rocking out in the jazz club rehearsals. I’ll miss writing for the school newspaper. I’ll miss late night conversations with my roommate. I’ll miss reshelving books in the school library. I’ll miss girl talk with my friend from cleaning crew while scraping gum off of the desks. I’ll miss riding my bike around campus when I want a good study break. I’ll miss singing “Down in the River to Pray” with my group from New England Saints. I’ll miss the jokes that professors make when they’re trying to get your attention—particularly the ones that succeed. But most of all, I’ll miss the people that I interacted with during my time in my second home.
When I started my freshman year, I never gave much thought to how many changes the 18-year-old doe-eyed girl would have to go through to become a 22-year-old woman with a bachelor’s degree in Writing. And yet, here I am. I met a large variety of incredible people, had so many experiences, made more friends than I expected to, and discovered a love for traveling—and that was all in the last year alone. Each year brought different opportunities, different people, different teachers, and different lessons. It wasn’t just four years of school; it was four years of self-discovery. It was a time for me to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be, both as a writer and as a person.
That’s not to say that I don’t have any regrets in the last four years. There are too many moments I wish I had handled differently, too many “what-if” scenarios, and too many “I-wish-I-had-done-this” memories. But I loved it all nevertheless, both the good and the bad. And if I could, I’d gladly experience the last four years all over again. I’m grateful for everything that my school has given me, and I hope that my work as a writer will make my friends, family, and professors proud.
Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “Congratulations, fellow Calvin grads of 2014. We finally made it!”