Four Year Flashback: A graduate’s perspective on the next steps

Amanda Zetah
Amanda Zetah

The person you are right now will not be the same one walking across the stage at graduation.

Let’s take a trip down memory road to the first day of freshman year. Picture this: a mousy brunette wearing a carefully-selected outfit, tags still attached. She’s bound and determined to become the world’s best surgeon and is entering in as a biochemistry major.

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She walks out of Ingersoll Hall, gets hopelessly lost trying to find Clark A101 and sits on the bench outside of BSB, crying behind her sunglasses — that girl was me.

Fast forward to now.

The future is looking just as scary these days, but this time I feel like I’m wearing an imaginary tool belt, equipped with the lessons I’ve learned at CSU. In the last four years, I’ve learned independence, resourcefulness and resilience in the pursuit of my dreams.

Back then, that mousy girl had no idea that CSU would take her on a whirlwind adventure that she never expected — one full of great friendships, great memories and great lessons.

As many of my fellow seniors can attest to, it hasn’t been an easy road. I’ve failed a few tests, pulled a few too many all-nighters and had my head in a toilet after nursing a few too many beers at Mo Jeaux’s on a Wednesday night.

On the same token, I’ve gone on sunrise hikes to Horsetooth, studied abroad in Europe and everything in between — name it and I’ve probably done it. That sounds cocky, but there’s one thing that mousy freshman and this seasoned senior have in common: we are bound and determined to do it all — no regrets.

A big part of me wants to go back and walk up to my freshman year self. I would take that silly lanyard off her neck and wipe her tears away. Pat her on the back and tell her that everything is going to work out, but it won’t be anything like what she expects.

She would have laughed in my face if I told her what was in store.

No, she won’t be a surgeon. She won’t even make it past freshman biology before giving up and pursuing her dream of writing. And then, her writing career would take a turn the minute she stepped foot in a small orphanage in Nicaragua. She wouldn’t believe me when I told her that she will have gone to 21 countries on her own in the next two years.

She wouldn’t believe that after graduation she would be teaching English in Sierra Leone with the Peace Corps. She would be too scared to sky dive in the Swiss Alps or venture through the redlight district of Amsterdam or try haggis in Scotland. She wouldn’t ride a camel in Morocco.

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So take a second and figure out who you are at this very moment.

Think about everything you want to accomplish at CSU and go do it. Nothing is stopping you.

After all, you won’t recognize the person who walks across that stage at graduation. But, the good news is that CSU will help to shape you into the best person you could possibly be.