My apologies for the long absence. It is my senior year. Things have gotten quite insane, snowballing into yesterday. Which I will detail for you:
I woke up pretty much in terror. I had to give my practice senior seminar presentation at 9 AM. At noon, I had to give my presentation over my final paper in my film class. And then, at 7 PM, I had to give a speech in front of 150 people, including the president and deans of our university, for our Leadership Recognition Program. And my bangs were literally sticking straight up from my head. On the ONE day of the semester that I really needed to look nice. Awesome.
I thought I was probably going to die (yes, I tend to be overdramatic…)
Fixed the bang situation. Got through the senior sem talk. Got through the film presentation. All with the wonderful support and encouragement of people who were probably tired of hearing me complain (I love you guys).
Showered. Put on my nice dress and the cowboy boots (heels are for people who actually know how to walk. Which, in case you’ve never tried to walk next to me, I cannot). Hand-wrote my speech out (of course my printer would die right before I printed it out…) Hairspray. Chap-stick. Deep breath.
The rest of the night is kind of a blur. When my name was called to give my speech pretty early in the night, the whole not-being-able-to-walk thing really set in. My knees were shaking terribly. I just kept thinking “do not trip and fall onto someone important”. I got up in front of all those people, and saw the big, scary people, but I also saw the faces of my best friends. My CKs, my co-workers and bosses at the MAC, and some of my MLK committee. I could do this.
I gave the speech. I looked down at my paper a lot, and I stumbled over my words. But I am really proud of what I said. Because I truly believe it: serving others makes you a better leader and a better human.
When I was finished, they all clapped. I think Jaronda yelled a little bit, and I love her a lot for that My heart smiled, and there were tears in my eyes. Because this, one of my biggest accomplishments, kind of signified the beginning of the end. I’ve been a senior for about a year now, but this really felt like the end.
I got back to my seat. My beautiful sisters smiled huge at me, and I just felt so blessed to be surrounded by such supportive, beautiful women, who show me every day the kind of love and encouragement that I only hope that I can give back to them. Many of those girls would go on to be nominated for and win awards that night. I think that I’ve got some pretty awesome friends
And then, a complete surprise. My amazing boss, Kati, had nominated me for an award: Outstanding Student Worker. And I won. The presenter was reading some things Kati had written about me and I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude for my job at the MAC. I’ve only been there since August, but that place has literally changed me SO much. I know that I am a better person for having experienced the things I’ve been able to experinece there. Planning a large-scale, campus-wide day of service. Writing the MAC weekly e-mail every week. Meeting and loving Kati, Jaronda, Bertha, and all of the other lovely people there that make me laugh like a crazy person all of the time. Learning more about people who have sacrificed so that allpeople could be treated equally. Being inspired by people who fight, every day, for equality, love, justice, and peace. I am in tears right now thinking about all I have learned from this place. And I don’t want to leave it, ever. I want to work in Kati’s office every single day for the rest of my life. I want to learn and grow more.
After the ceremony, all the speeches, all the deserving winners receiving their awards, all the raspberries and blackberries I consumed (best. fruit platter. EVER.), I just could not believe the sense of contentment that I had. Yes, it was almost over. I have a month left. But I know so deep down in my heart that I will be leaving Truman State University a better person than I was when I came here. I have met and been inspired by so many people here. I’ve been trusted with things I would have never imagined I could do in a million years. I have been loved fully and deeply and I have loved fully and deeply in return.
To all of my amazing and inspiring friends from tonight, and in my life here at Truman, thank you all so very much. I love you all and will keep you in my heart forever.