The end of the best five years of my life and the beginning of… well, the rest of my life.
I walked across the stage yesterday in front of 16,000+ people - my classmates, friends, family, and professors cheering me on - to receive my well-earned diploma. That’s the seal of approval on all my hard work: all my late nights, all the tears in my textbooks, all the pre-exam nerves, all the stress about building my resume; all the ups and the downs; all the laughs with friends late at night in our perfect little apartment, all the learning and growing together, watching each of us blossom into a one-of-a-kind beautiful, intelligent, passionate young woman.
And now all of it comes to an end, and that’s the hardest part. I hate endings more than I love sweet potatoes. Change and I aren’t the best of friends, and we’ve tussled quite a bit throughout the last five years, as each new set of changes comes along. Who knows if we ever will be friends. I guess, maybe, I need to keep experiencing change first-hand in order to find out.
It’s the end, but as all the speakers and my wise father pointed out, it’s also the beginning. I didn’t spend five years in classrooms and labs learning all about food and nutrition and the human body (a literal human body for a whole quarter - thanks, cadaver, for your generous contribution to my studies) to finish learning when I receive my diploma. I may not sit in a classroom or lab for some time, but I will certainly save my notes and textbooks and continue to study what I love so that I can apply that knowledge, so that I can use it to help me chase my dreams and perhaps even discover new ones.
It’s the end of college, but it’s the beginning of the rest of my life. It’s time to let Haley, the nutrition nerd who loves donuts and Chardonnay as much as she loves spinach and carrots, fearlessly step foot into the world and show everyone who she is, what she knows, and how she can help.