While my college career could be broken down into four years, I can’t help but see it differently. To me, every moment is a collection of stories that led me down a new path and incited change.

I’ve had nine different roommates, lived in five places (but somehow never escaped the sound of the train), traveled to Italy on a study abroad trip, taken my final semester of courses during a pandemic and worked jobs I couldn’t have dreamed I’d be able to have.

My time at Texas A&M went beyond the confines of freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years and I’ve learned much more than how to analyze Old English poetry.

I had classes and professors I loved dearly, ones I couldn’t stand and found that it doesn’t matter what major you have — 10-page essays are always awful. I’ve learned everyone will hear I’m an English major and ask if I want to be a teacher. As I pursue a career in publishing after graduation, I will cheesily advise people not to judge a book by its cover.

I was lucky enough to join one of A&M’s oldest institutions — the student newspaper. At this point, I could count that basement as my sixth home and all the people I spent hours upon hours with as my other set of roommates. It made me fall in love with sharing stories and bolstered my ability to edit anything to perfection.

While going from a news reporter to assistant news editor to managing editor at The Battalion, I’ve gotten to see all the faces of this university. I am now terrified of phone calls from unknown numbers and Facebook comments. However, within the good, the bad and the ugly, there are always wonderful people working behind the scenes even when their voices are at their quietest.

I’ve learned patience and dedication by watching my co-workers during the endless production nights for each issue of The Battalion. While my contribution to the newspaper was small in comparison to its 127 years of operation, I see our work as a timestamp of my college journey. Even the implementation of Canvas this semester took me back to my very first article in which I wrote about A&M’s search for an eCampus replacement in 2018 (please do not go read my very first article). There’s nothing like learning an entire new system your final semester of college to make you feel old.

I’ve learned sometimes it’s worth losing study time for adventures. I will never forget choosing to visit the Tower of Pisa and spending my last days in the beautiful town of Lucca, Italy before being forced to return to the U.S. as COVID-19 made its way around the globe. Looking back, I won’t remember the 10-page paper I had due, but I will remember walking the cobblestone streets looking for gelato.

For my final chapter, I’d like to thank all of my many roommates, all the friends that have come and gone and the friends that have stayed. I want to thank my Battalion family for keeping me sane through the most insane nights I have ever experienced. I owe my brothers some credit for giving me advice that helped me survive this university, but I owe my parents even more for putting an English major into an Agriculture and Engineering college. Now that’s a leap of faith. I only hope I can make you all proud.

Despite the circumstances of my last semester at A&M, I am happy with the story I’ve written here. But, more importantly, I can’t wait to see the stories of those who come after me. I’m going to be an A&M alumni after I walk across the stage in Reed Arena, and I can’t wait to pay it forward.

Camryn Lang is a English senior and managing editor for The Battalion.

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