I really never thought I would get this far. I am not sure where I thought I would be, but it was certainly not here.
When I started at Allegheny, I did so with the intention of transferring elsewhere after my freshman year. After some changes to my original plans, I decided I liked it here more than I thought I would and I wanted to stay.
I came in knowing that I wanted to major in theatre. I loved performing, and that was all I wanted to do. My mother, who was paying my tuition, asked that I pair it with “something practical” — which I thought was entirely fair — so I jumped headfirst into an economics minor. Shortly thereafter, I discovered the shiny new integrative informatics major, and realized that I wanted to do that, as well. It seemed more like what I wanted compared to the economics minor, so I picked that up when I declared my major in fall 2019. I made the decision to keep my economics minor, as it was “only six classes.” I do not regret keeping the minor, although I do feel like a bit of a crazy person when I explain to my peers that I do indeed have two majors in addition to a minor.
Fast forward to my senior year. It is now about a week from graduation, and it simply does not feel real.
I have had many problems during my time at Allegheny. I have struggled with uncaring professors, discriminatory professors, seemingly constant medical problems and an overall sense of not belonging. Looking back, while there is certainly a lot that I regret, I do not think I would change any of it to get to this outcome.
If I could tell my underclassman self one thing, it would simply be that I belonged here, and that I was wanted and welcome in many spaces. I did a lot of telling myself that I was not, and I definitely think that that hindered me in many ways. There are some things I did not join until later, such as the newspaper staff, that I genuinely wished I had been a part of sooner. The friends I have made here are incredibile, and some of the best connections I have been able to make on this campus.
I am of course happy for the clubs that I have been able to be a part of since my early years at Allegheny. I have been on the board for Dumbledore’s Army since my sophomore year, and I truly do love those weirdos. I have been president of the Knitting Club since then as well, and I essentially built that club up from nothing. I am endlessly proud of the work that I put into that club to make it what it is today, and I am so thankful for the members who make it worth it.
My theatre experience has not been what I initially envisioned, but it would not have been anything without my work study position in the costume shop. I truly would have dropped out had I not gotten that job and discovered that I did indeed love costuming, and that while I wish I could be performing, I could be perfectly happy working in theatre tech as well. The friends I have made through working in the Playshop are some of the funniest and brightest people I know, and it has been so fun to work with them and get to know them over the last four years.
The last club I would like to highlight my involvement with is Allegheny Christian Outreach. While I did not always see eye to eye with everyone, I am thankful for the safe space they have provided for me to be myself and feel loved for who I am. I have grown significantly in my faith, and I hold everyone in ACO close to my heart.
I have said all of that to say this: there is a definite trend here: the best parts of my college experience came from getting involved with campus organizations. As my time here went on, I got involved in more clubs, went to more events and found several places on campus I now call home. I stopped sitting in my room feeling sorry for myself, and I went out and made something of my college career. Anyone who talks to me knows that I have not had the most stellar experience with academics and professors on campus, but what I am most thankful for is the organizations that made it worth staying at this school.
This piece is for the first year and sophomore students who desperately wish to be involved. The best advice I can give you is do not wait. Stop sitting in your room and moping about how you wish you could be in clubs. Go out and join something, anything. One thing will lead to another, and another and another until suddenly you find yourself all but overcommitted. Despite how heavy the workload may feel, you will certainly find yourself surrounded by friends and peers who love you for who you are. I think that is ultimately all any of us could want.
Thank you, readers, for your support of student journalism. Writing for The Campus has been a highlight of my college experience, and it is in no small part to the readers who stop me in the halls to ask me if I truly think Batman is a furry, or that “Hawkeye” was a good and valid Marvel show. (He is, and it was.) As I said when being unmasked as Overheard @ Allegheny, all I really want to say to the people here in my life is thank you, for everything.