Kenzie grad

I’m going to be honest. I’ve procrastinated writing this for way longer than I should’ve, but I guess that’s pretty on brand for me. I keep trying to think of something unique to say that hasn’t been said 100 times over by other graduates, and keep coming up blank. So I’m going to sum up the basic things pretty quickly: I didn’t plan to go to Texas A&M. Here I am. It’s been wild. I love The Battalion. Gig ‘em Aggies. 

There. Now that that’s over with, I want to talk about some of the things I’ve learned here. When I got to A&M, I had everything planned out. I thought I knew who I was, what I wanted and a step by step plan on how I was going to get there. 

Let’s just say a lot of things didn’t go the way I expected. I never thought I was going to fail a test, or lose contact with old friends or get my heart broken however many times. 

However, looking back, I wouldn’t have changed any of it. OK — that’s not true. But I’ve at least learned to appreciate all of it. Every challenge and struggle taught me a lesson, and sometimes it was the same lesson over and over … and over … until I finally got the hint. 

I’ve had my moments where I’ve hurt the people I cared about and vice versa, where I’ve done something I regretted, swore I would never do something again — and then did it again. 

The biggest takeaway I have leaving college is this: Be kind to others, and also to yourself. 

I like to think I look for the best in others, and give people the benefit of the doubt more often than not. However, I’m human. There have been times where I’ve been petty or said something extremely hurtful to someone and had to look back and ask, “Was it worth it?” Usually, the answer is no. Being kind even when it’s not easy gives its own kind of power and forgiving people for apologies never received helps you more than them. 

I find it’s really easy for me to be extremely harsh on myself. I relive moments over and over like, “Why did I send that text?” “Why didn’t I study harder?” “Why didn’t I do this or that?” 

And you know what? Look at me now, I’m still graduating. I’m still moving forward in life. The test I thought I wasn’t going to survive? Well, I survived. 

One of my favorite quotes ever is “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” That quote has lived with me for years. 

College is an extremely challenging time for a lot of people. You learn a lot about life and about yourself. The gap between the person you want to be versus the person you are seems like it’s constantly expanding. However, learn to enjoy the journey. Because it’ll be gone before you know it.

You can’t wait for the hard times to pass before you start living your life. You’ve got to learn to dance in the rain. 

Here’s another thing:

I get asked all the time by strangers or friends, “How are you so confident all the time?” Well, I’ll let you in on a secret … I’m not. Any of my close friends can tell you that there’s been plenty of times where I’ve gotten super insecure about trying to please those around me, or why doesn’t this person like me or what did I do wrong. Sometimes, I felt so alone I just wanted to crawl into bed and never leave. 

But being confident in yourself, doesn’t mean you’re confident 100% of the time. Sometimes you gotta fake it until you make it. And that’s OK.

It’s also OK to be embarrassed, to put yourself out there, get rejected and feel like shutting down. However, something I’ve learned is that it’s never as big of a deal as you think it is. It really isn’t. The guy that ghosted you clearly wasn’t the love of your life. Delete the number. Move on. The person who teases you for wearing heels to class clearly just can’t walk in them. Continue strutting. 

Sometimes, it can be fun to be the 5’3” girl walking up to the Marines table with heels and a strapless dress, pretending you can’t do pull-ups just to watch the shocked faces from everyone as you rep them out. *Cough* Not that I’ve ever done that. 

Let people underestimate you. Let them doubt, and then prove them wrong. If you are unapologetically yourself throughout college, you don’t need to regret a thing as you look back on it. 

I remember crying as my mom left my dorm freshman year, sad and excited to be leaving home. And now, I feel a similar sense of emotion as I prepare to leave what has become another home for me. I will always remember BTHO ‘Bama, the late night print productions at The Battalion, the nights at Northgate dancing in El Jefe or hanging out at O’Bannons with my friends. 

A&M has been home to some of the highest and lowest points in my life, and will stay with me long after I leave the extremely beige campus. I’m grateful for all of the memories, friends, teachers and strangers along the way that have made this one of the greatest experiences of my life. I’ll see y’all for the next ‘Bama game. Until then, I’ll be dancing in the rain. Thanks and Gig ‘em! 

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