You are what makes CSU great, enjoy it while you can

Having just finished a 15-page paper — one of the last I will ever write for my undergrad degree here at CSU — I’m having trouble coming up with the right words to describe my past four-and-a-half years here.

I started my college career off with a ridiculous amount of partying, a broken nose after a game of beer pong on my first night and as a result, a first semester GPA so embarrassing I’d rather not share it.

The semesters that followed were excruciatingly challenging, miserable and confusing; and thus became the most incredible moments of self-respect, actualization and understanding of my life.

My time here at CSU has taught me more than I ever could have imagined inside and outside the classroom, and I leave with a new set of skills involving high intelligence, critical thinking and appreciation.

This sense of appreciation has had me thinking about what I’m most thankful for.

I’m thankful to have attended such an incredible university filled with the most amazing students, and have never been so proud and connected to a school as I am here at CSU.

I’m thankful to be surrounded by peers that work hard (as I can see by the packed library) and play hard (as I am sure I will see most of them kicking back at the Skeller later).

I’m thankful to have had professors that take time with each and every student, and truly love what they do. I would like to extend a personal thank you to Dr. Karyl Sabbath, a professor with such a passion for her area of a study and who has challenged me, and helped me grow as not only an academic but as a human being.

I’m thankful for all of you who have read my columns this year and all of you who read the Collegian. I’m thankful for those who have enjoyed my ideas and those who have hated and challenged them — you have all taught me so much and I respect each and every one of you (yes, even you trolls!).

I’ve learned so much in these last four-and-a-half years, but to those of you graduating, I want you to remember that the learning doesn’t stop when we leave CSU. There is always something to be learned and sometimes the teachers aren’t the ones in the front of the classroom giving a lecture — instructors can be found anywhere in our lives, often in the most unexpected places.

Earlier this year, a good friend of mine passed away due to a brain tumor. Avery was 12 years-old and taught me more in the time that I knew her than I ever could have imagined.

Avery battled cancer at a young age and did so by the motto of her favorite song: “Fearless” by Taylor Swift. In her short time here, little Avery taught me to be fearless in everything that I do and I am reminded of and thankful for her every single day. I challenge you all to do the same –– to live by Avery’s example and to live fearlessly.

I want you all to leave this university, without fear, bold and brave into the “real world.” You have the potential to do anything you want.

Looking back, I can’t honestly say I’ll miss being harassed as I walk through the plaza by political and religious advocates, but I will miss just about everything else about this place.

For all of you not graduating this semester, enjoy what time you have left here — I know, I remember how annoying that was for graduating seniors to say to me, but it’s true! Your time here will go by faster than you think and you’ll miss it when it’s gone.

To those of you graduating, remember that you are still a part of this university long after you walk across that stage and throw your caps up into the air. I want each and every one of you to remember that you are always Colorado State. You are what makes this university what it is today. You define its culture and reputation.

You are all Ram strong, be proud of that, live fearlessly and as always (insert desired profanity here about CU–Boulder!) Cheers!

Copy Editor Lauren Stieritz is a senior communication studies major. She can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurenstieritz.