I can't believe I graduated from Gonzaga University just over a week ago. I don't think I've ever felt something so surreal in my life. Realizing that I'm done with school, homework, exams, papers and group projects forever is a world-shattering thought. I've been in private school my whole life, and now to be out of the education system and in the real world is simply weird.
I've been thinking a lot about the fantastic memories I've made at Gonzaga with it's amazing people. Sure it hasn't always been an easy ride, but that's part of the college experience. The person I was as a freshman is completely different from the person I am now. I've grown so much and it's all thanks to the experiences I've had at Gonzaga. I've really come to understand who I am as an artist, a student, a social justice advocate, a visual storyteller, a public relations professional, a Catholic and, most of all, a person. I still have a lot of learning (about myself and the world around me) to go, but I'm definitely a better person because of Gonzaga.
Graduation weekend was a perfect finale to my life as a undergraduate. Singing with the University Choir one last time at Commencement Mass, dining at Latah Bistro with my family, getting a "congrats" written on my Starbucks cup, writing thank yous to my professors and toasting to the Class of 2014 were all definite highlights.
Over the past four years, I sang at numerous Crosby Coffeehouse performances, starred in two plays, watched Jersey Shore every Thursday with my roommates, became a campus celebrity via The Gonzaga Bulletin by being featured in it and writing for it, hosted a fashion show, created Z Life, hosted a GUTV segment called #trendingnow, ate at Madeline's, visited Manito Park, found my best friend, ate too many COG burgers, wandered Logan neighborhood drunk with friends, traveled with choir to Portland, San Francisco and Seattle, froze to death every winter, lost my voice after yelling at basketball games in the Kennel, stood around slightly disgusted while watching people grind at dances, created a documentary for a group project, woke up too early to go to Spokane MARCOM meetings, appeared on KXLY 4 News, scoped out guys at the gym and, oh yeah ... learned a lot in my classes.
As I'm writing all this, it still hasn't hit me that it's all come to an end. My late-night escapades, proudest achievements and social engagements are all over. I'll never see some of the people I've worked, laughed, cried, partied and learned with ever again. Just when I felt like I had everything figured out, it's time to start anew.
It's a scary thought starting from the bottom up, especially after leaving my mark on Gonzaga. I've built a launch pad for my future and I'm confident that I'll be successful with whatever comes next. No matter what happens, I'll always have the memories, the people and the lessons learned to look back on. I'm a Zag for life and this is just the beginning ...