It has been two years since Mara and I walked across the stage to receive our diploma! We congratulate anyone who has recently graduated from college, grad programs, and even high school during this time!! We know that we were lucky to experience the excitement of commencement and wanted to share part of our experience with you as well as our thoughts now that we have been graduated for a few years.
Mara: Two years ago (19 May) marks the day we both walked across the stage to receive our undergraduate degrees. There is actually a crazy terrifying story behind where the convocation ceremonies are held, much like the graduates of 2020 having online ceremonies. Quinnipiac University’s Commencement was typically held outside on the beautifully trimmed, bright-green quad, right in front of the fondly known Arnold Bernhard Library clock tower. I was able to attend one when I was a kid going to see my uncle graduate from QU in game design. It was a gorgeous layout, but it was steamy and sticky due to the number of people crammed together on the quad in late-spring weather. However, in 2014, commencements were moved to the York Hill campus within the (at the time) TD Bank Sports Center due to a bomb threat. You’re thinking, “It’s a bomb threat, so inside or outside, what would it matter? Graduation should have been canceled regardless!” Well, the bomb threat came from a graduating student approximately 20 minutes before the ceremony initially saying there was a bomb in the library, and then calling again three minutes later saying there were multiple bombs on campus, and graduation should be canceled. What was the reasoning for this student to make such accusations/threats? She wasn’t enrolled in her program at QU anymore and didn’t want her mother to know because her parents had given her money for her tuition, which clearly was not used for those reasons. *Face palm* You can read an article about this incident here.
For our 2018 graduation, we thought we might be lucky to have graduation outdoors once again, but the weather turned out to be awful. Due to QU’s growing number of students, students graduated by their school. So, unfortunately, Jada and I didn’t graduate together as she was in the School of Arts and Sciences, and I was in the School of Health Sciences. I remember the weeks leading up to it being some of the most stressful but exciting weeks in my time at QU. Senior year was a great year for both me and Jada. It seemed we were the most social, and most on top of our time management for fun and for studies. We were at a point where we finally felt like we could just go with the flow. It was so relieving after having such academically rigorous schedules from freshman through junior year. We didn’t slack or have senioritis per se, but we had a confidence in us that I didn’t really have going through college. I often look back on my undergraduate schedules and think, “how the hell did I make it through that?” And at the same time, I was applying for graduate programs. That’s another story that I can’t get into now because the application process and going through graduate school is a whole. Other. Damned. Animal.
To be honest, I was excited on graduation day, but I also realized I wouldn’t be able to see my friends every day because everyone was going in different directions and locations in their lives. Not seeing my bestie every day where we would say to each other, “goodnight! See you in eight hours for breakfast!” was the most bizarre thing I could think about. Of course, life goes on, and you just gotta work at keeping in contact with your people while doing your thing. I remember feeling proud of my accomplishments after walking across the stage and meeting with my family after the ceremony. However I knew this wouldn’t be the end of schooling for me, so this ending was bitter-sweet for me. On top of that, it was cloudy and rainy, and I didn’t get to walk across the stage with all of my friends, and of course most importantly, with Jada. She is my rock. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t met her, or how my experiences would have turned out. However, there was a relief because I knew Jada is a life friend, and keeping in touch wouldn’t be that hard. Which, two years later and here we are, connecting through her blog (and yes, we text pretty much every day) and sharing our stories with you.
Jada: It is hard to believe that it has already been two years since college graduation! Time really goes by fast. As Mara mentioned above, we were not able to graduate together because we were in two different schools, and our University planned each ceremony according to school. I remember graduation day and all the events leading up to it perfectly as if it had only occurred yesterday.
I can agree 100% with Mara on how senior year went for us. I honestly felt as though I was just getting started with my college career and had so much more to offer than just what little time I had left during senior year. Mara and I expanded our friend group and we built more relationships around campus from the kitchen staff to our professors. We enjoyed the evenings where we would go out for dinner as a reward for surviving another hard week and during the warmer seasons taking mini-breaks to sit on the library steps. I lived off-campus while Mara lived on campus which at first seemed like a bummer but we quickly had a running joke of, “see you in 8hrs, I’ll be at the library for 7:30 am” (lol). I believe we knew that during the first three years at QU we put so much effort, dedication, sweat, and tears into our studies that we both were able to exhale during our last year.
I truly believe that in every stage of life it is important to have a support team. Your support team does not need to consist of many people. As for me, it only took one person (maybe two… thanks Mom!) who held me accountable, who challenged my thoughts, who always was there for encouragement on days where I felt like a complete failure, who I could share a laugh with, or say things without filter, and most importantly someone who knew my goals and was able to share the same dream with me. I would like to think that I was able to return that support for Mara too because that is what friends (and family) are for!
Over the course of the last two years, the lessons that we have learned in and outside class have proved to be invaluable. Since we walked away from QU, Mara was able to complete her Masters in Public Health (GO BEST FRIEND, DATS MY BEST FRIEND🎉 )and publish a scientific article! I have been promoted in my job to a managerial position in charge of building and training our team as well as continuing to maintain and provide content for you on the blog! Since graduation, we have been working and striving to reach our goals and we both know that no matter what, we will always be there for each other.