Thinking about graduating in one month is scary but exciting. I feel like just yesterday my parents and I made the road trip from my hometown in Colorado to Russellville and moved my belongings into Baswell. My next three years at ATU flew by in a blur, and now I am left with all my memories of attending school here.

Heading into college I always knew I was only going to be there for three years. I had completed enough dual-credit courses in high school that I had enough credits to start off as a sophomore. I knew that I had to make the most of the next three years, and I believe that I did just that. I have made some of the best friendships that I could possibly imagine through my various activities on campus and getting involved in as many ways as I could.

My freshman year, I excluded myself from lots of good opportunities. In my head I had two friends, and that was all I needed. There was no need for me to create different opportunities or meet new people. When I came back for my sophomore year, I came with a very different mindset. I wanted to meet people. 

I first started by joining the emergency management student organization, Resilience in Disasters and Emergencies, where I became very close with the emergency management professors and other students. Through that organization I met one of my best friends Elly. Elly and I got more involved with the program and we later met another close friend of ours, Braden.  Because I wanted to get involved, I made lifelong friends and created a professional relationship. 

After I saw what one degree program had to offer, it made me realize that ATU has so much more to offer. I started going out more and meeting so many wonderful people. I rekindled friendships from freshman year, and I now have a friend like Allyson who I can’t picture my life without.

 I got a job at the Admissions Office and formed many friendships with the other Golden Guides. Because I took advantage of what ATU has to offer I became friends with so many supportive and uplifting women. I went on a spontaneous Spring Break trip and met four girls who bring so much laughter and light into my life. 

These are all people I would have never had the chance of meeting, if I kept to myself.  I wouldn’t have met them if I kept operating under the assumption that I could do the whole college thing on my own. The bonds I have created with all these people through ATU has been an inspiration in my life in more ways than one. 

This past January I uprooted my entire college life in the middle of the school year, leaving behind some of my favorite people to have a chance at an internship in Washington D.C. I was accepted as the US House Representatives, Chief Administrative Officer, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery intern after this past fall semester on Dec. 8. I was so excited to see that everything I had worked for had finally paid off.  It didn’t feel real that I was going to     live in D.C. 

After the thought sunk in, it finally hit me that I would be leaving some of my favorite people in this entire world.  I panicked a little, thinking of how my life would change from seeing my friends every day in class or on campus, to being in different states and living different lives. I simply could fathom a life where I did not see these people every single day. But my time at ATU formed strong bonds that even distance and change can’t break.  I said my goodbyes and moved to D.C. and still find myself talking to my best friends every single day. 

My life did not stop and start, moving to college or moving away from college. It has opened the door for so many different opportunities for me and I am eternally grateful. As my internship comes to end, I accepted a position to be a Business Continuity Specialist and Contractor for the House starting after graduation. I am so excited for what is to come and the door for opportunities is just getting opened. 

Arkansas Tech has done so many things for me. It provided me the opportunity to meet some of my very best friends.  ATU has set me up for an incredible career and it assisted me in landing a dream internship.   Without Arkansas Tech University or my friends, I would have never felt so ready to step into real life. I cannot wait to walk across that stage in a few weeks with my friends and have tangible proof of everything I have worked for.