So much has been going through my mind as Ben and I pack up our little apartment, finish up our finals, and leave the midwest, and none of it is exactly where I'd like my mind to be.
Because Ben and I stayed later at school (so I could finish up one last semester and Ben could complete an Honor's Term), the whole graduation feel that we experienced in the spring when our friends were leaving and when we walked across the stage is... gone. Instead, everything feels very rushed and hectic and it's been hard to stop, take a deep breath, and remember all the magical times this small school has given us.
When I first came to Beloit, it was the middle of my sophomore year in college and I wasn't in the best of places. I had always wanted to go to this little quirky school, but when the time came to pick a college, I went with the safety university everyone from my high school went to. It's a decision I can't really explain, but in the end, am grateful I made. I don't think I was ready for this small, liberal arts school then and I don't think I would have been able to fully appreciate it had I not experienced ISU first. Though I left my old university with a bad taste in my mouth, I can see the importance it had on my life and I wouldn't change any decision I made.
Beloit really was everything it promise to be. It changed my life.
When I first arrived, I didn't have a clue in the world. I remember thinking that everyone seemed so much more mature than me, with bigger vocabularies and fabulous world experiences. Their conversations seemed like they were out of movies. Their wits were impecable. They all seemed to speak multiple languages and make references to things I had never even heard of. And I envied that. I worked towards that.
I'm not going to lie, transferring colleges and coming into a school of less than 1,000 during the middle of the year was not easy. I had forgotten how to make friends, how to put myself out there. It took a lot of courage I didn't think I had, but I worked through it and made some amazing relationships with not only my peers, but with my professors as well. After awhile, I suddenly became as passionate and thoughtful as the students I had first envied and I was proud of myself for finding the strength to change the things I did not like about myself and give myself this experience.
When I walked across the stage last semester, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. Even though I had no diploma in my folder at the time (haha...), it was the symbolism that moment held for me and my family. I had accomplished so much. I had graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honor's in English. I don't think I would have even come close to that had I still been at ISU, where I was an underachiever and felt no drive to push myself. No, instead I had excelled and had been a TA twice and been heavily involved in the writing scene and took every assignment I had as an excuse to learn something new about the world. Beloit gave me all that, and I will be forever grateful.
The friends I made here are treasures. They have shaped me so much and made me such a more thoughtful and inquisitive individual. They have pushed me to explore new concepts and I can't imagine my life without them.
I loved this school and this last semester made me forget that at times. But those feelings aren't real. My frustration with finals and anger towards this extra work I had to do because of the credits lost in the transfer, that's not really how I feel. How I really feel is just love. I love this tiny town and all it's quirkiness. I love the student body. I love the general Beloit College feel. I love it and I will miss it. I will never have a time like this again, but I'm glad I made the most of it while I was here.
So cheers to you, Beloit. Your little college changed my life.