I’m within my last 30 days of my undergraduate education. I’m feeling very introspective about it, I think a lot about change, I talk a lot about leaving, I have an ongoing countdown, I’m procrastinating on packing, I only have eight assignments or tests left, & I do a lot of heavy sighing. It’s all feeling very bitter sweet.
They’re holding an event this week, in conjunction with our alumni expo - you know, a kind of beginning of the end for students. They've asked the speakers to answer this question: if this were your last time to address a group of students, what would you say to them?
I keep thinking over that question. Most of the time when I address students, I’m just trying to get them to cheer, but I don’t think I would want that to be the last address. The other times I address students, I’m just trying to let them know what’s going on around campus, and I’m leaving, so I don’t need to do that anymore.
But here’s what I’ve got: if this was my last time to address not only a group of students, but every person who made my time at Ryerson stand out in my head, I’d just try say a hearty thank you: broadly, specifically, & probably through tears.
Thanks for that night we sat on the fourth floor of the library, tucked away in a booth, laughing about cropped photos on Facebook, because that was the first time I ever felt like i belonged at Ryerson, like i had made good friends that I could have fun with.
Thanks for late night, light jogging to get crepes before the crepe place up on Church Street closed, because sometimes a girl just needs a Nutella crepe to get her through a late night of homework.
Thanks for telling me hard truths, truths I didn't want to accept or hear because I knew it would challenge my life, & extra thanks for being there for me when I had to do the hard work to put the challenging stuff I was learning into practice. (This thank you could alternatively be titled: thanks for giving me paint analogies.)
Thanks for sitting across from me at Balzacs, asking me what I really wanted to do with my life & asking me how I really wanted to feel about school, work, and life. Thanks for sitting across from me at Loblaws, reminding me that I wasn’t alone in all the uncertainty I was feeling. Thanks for sitting across from me at breakfast diners & coffee shops as I processed & reflected on all of the feels.
Thanks for the breakfast dates & the coffee dates & the ice cream dates & the study dates & & the nacho dates & the burger bar dates. Thanks for all of the dates, I guess.
Thank you for coming to the beach with me to collect rocks, even though you didn’t have to; thanks for taking a photo of me that required you to do more work than I’m proud of; thank you for walking great lengths because we didn’t know the streetcar wasn’t running out where we were.
Thank you for the book recommendations & the cafe recommendations & the study technique recommendations & the music recommendations & the life recommendations.
Thank you for running through the halls of Kerr Hall with me, strung out on too many mini eggs and never enough votes, singing, “We’re running through Kerr Hall for your votes!” (Alternatively Titled: Thanks for helping me at the court house in first year when we were both lost, & thanks for saying hi to me in second year; also, thanks for stopping by AskMeRU to chat for lengthy periods of time, all of the musical parodies, & having the perfect Drake quote for when we won.)
Thanks for the Google calendar invites. Seriously, thanks for all the Google calendar invites.
Thank you for always letting me cheer loudly, never taking away my blowhorn, and sometimes even taking photos of me while I do the cheering things. Thanks for never making me feel lesser for my enthusiasm about all of the things, & thanks for not leaving me all alone in my school spirit.
Thanks for the adventures, whether they were big or small - but even the small adventures feel big with the right people, & y’all were the right people.
Thanks for dressing like a ninja & running through Kerr Quad with me to steal a sign promoting the hockey home opener & three dollar beer night in our window. Thanks for putting up with my inability to stick to a regular dish washing schedule. Thanks for telling me about Toaster Girl, creating one of the ultimate friendship goals.Thanks for always being game to do an in-game activation. Thank you for leaving your arm in my room sometimes and for being willing to take out any person that ever tried to hurt me. Thanks for always always always listening, for teaching me about loyalty and consistency, & for showing me that true friends never, ever, EVER give up. Thanks for the hand cream.
Thanks for still living with us, even after we spent all of second year going to your games, yelling, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BIRTHDAY GIRL!”, which in turn, confused everyone about when your birthday actually was.
Thanks for all the dance parties & all the karaoke.
Thanks for giving me space to be myself, to learn about things that challenged me, for allowing me to rep you in different areas, even if I didn’t always rep you well.
Thank you for making me laugh so hard, my stomach hurt & for being there when tears snuck into my eyes.
Thank you for real chats about Jesus & self-worth & strawberries & that anxious feeling in our chest when we think about leaving & relationships & reasons, seasons, lifetimes. Thanks for real chats about vulnerability & leadership & journeys & I don’t even know what else.
Thanks for keeping me humble when I lose Jenga or other games (I’m sorry for being so competitive).
Thanks for loving me well - loving me widely and loving me deeply. Because here at school, I sometimes felt lonely, but I never felt alone.
Most of all, thanks for taking in a scared, small town girl, & turning her into a forever cheerleader of this lil blue & gold community at the corner of Victoria & Gould.