Tyresha Vaughan-Blanding
Opinion Editor

Well folks, for me this is the last dance. Coming into college as a naïve nineteen-year-old and leaving as a grown woman with a sense of pride, dignity, and more wisdom than when I got here. I won’t sit here and act like this was smooth sailing all four years because that would be lying through my teeth. But, I can say, after all, it was worth it. 

I’ve lost friends and gained even better ones. I came in as one major, leaving as another. I even survived being deployed and a pandemic. Now I think I’m invincible or something.

I remember showing up at Millersville’s campus for orientation and knowing this is the school for me.  Also that my tuition would be paid one hundred percent by the military, and if I moved any further than an hour from home, my grandparents would lose their minds. They say it was for safety, but I know it was because they wanted to be able to check in on me and would miss my bubbly personality and witty rumor around the house. Their baby was leaving the nest and there wasn’t anything they could do about it.

In my time at Millersville, I have been able to create a support system, formed of friends, faculty, and staff that, regardless of if they know it or not, has helped me navigate college and adulting all at the same time.

First, the Snapper Staff. They probably have put up with me the most in the last year with my disregard for deadlines, dark humor, and witty comebacks. They have made being the Opinion Editor feel like home.

To professors, like Dr. Spicer, who helped me realize that I could turn a passion like writing into a career, if it wasn’t for my meeting with him about changing my major, I would still be a depressed criminology major. However, taking one of Dr. Schmitt’s criminology classes helped me realize I was more valuable in being able to articulate and report on things that matter to me than I ever would be as a correctional officer, forensic scientist, or criminal profiler.

 Professors like Dr. Hughes forced me to think outside the box and understand that you don’t always have to fight with fists because words pack a punch and hit just as hard. 

Thank you to staff on campus like J Whitlow, who not only helped me understand the complexities of my identity but also made me knowledgeable of others and provided a safe space like the Intercultural Center. It was there where I felt seen, heard, and in a community, where outside I often felt my peers couldn’t relate to my day-to-day struggles because of how differently we navigate through life. Because of the Intercultural Center, I have been able to become acquaintances and friends with people that have made college a little more bearable. We laughed through the good times and laughed even harder through the bad ones, leaning on each other’s shoulders for support and encouragement.

Reflecting back on this chapter of my life that will soon come to an end, the only thing I wish is that I complained less and enjoyed it more. Although it may seem like forever, one day you’re going to look up and it’s going to be time to ask yourself what’s next. 

Once you’re under those bright lights walking across the stage in your cap and gown to collect your degree, it’s all over. The very thing that you had sleepless nights and long days over. All the silent tears you’ve cried to yourself while still pushing through. The thing that you have questioned a million times if it was truly worth it is now in your hands. The degree that you battled relentlessly for, through finding internships and jobs, dealing with family drama, car issues, and figuring out bills while still making it to class on time is now in your hands. The degree you went to battle for is here and it’s finally all coming to an end. The world is yours. 

Here is my advice: enjoy every part of the ride, because it’ll be over before you know it. 

Sincerely,  The college student that slid through the cracks with my grandparent’s prayer, Google, and a miracle.