That’s All, Folks!

Jenna Smith:

If I had to sum up my last four years at Ursinus in one word, I’d choose ephemeral. Ephemeral means extremely short, which considering I was at home for more than a full year thanks to a devastating pandemic, I’d say this experience was.

I arrived like every other excited freshman on a stressful August morning, awaiting what this new journey would bring me. Everyone always boasts about their life-changing college experience, so I was excited to experience everything the young adult life had to offer. This newfound freedom was cut surprisingly short, as it was announced at the beginning of our Spring Break that the remainder of the semester would be online. I chose to stay at home my sophomore year, for numerous reasons, and I do not regret this decision one bit. The choice did cost me valuable UC time, though.

I feel as if my college experience was adequate. Nothing extremely life-changing happened, except for a pandemic that halted the world. But, I do know that I’m a changed person. I’m more mature and educated, experienced with both the political field and the field of journalism (Thank you Grizzly), and
a seasoned professional at networking and utilizing alumni connections, as most UC seniors eventually become. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here, but my experience feels more a blur than a protracted journey of self-discovery.

My professors in both the English and Politics departments were truly the backbone of my Ursinus experience – I owe everything to them for being so supportive and encouraging. I am a child of two departments that usually go underrepresented at Ursinus, so I will forever do my due diligence in being
a proponent of the English major and the Politics major. Specific shoutouts to Dr. Kara McShane, Dr. Ann Karreth, and Dr. Rebecca Evans, who are three amazing role models who champion their department with their stupendous work in their fields, for guiding me through these last four years. I know everyone feels a special connection to their specific major’s department and faculty, but to me these areas and people really felt like home these last four years.

I also wouldn’t be here today without my friends. I know everyone feels the same about their Ursinus friend group. How is it possible that in a few short weeks we’re all going to be moving away from each other, never again living in such close proximity to this supportive community? Whilst we may not all be together in person, I will always have a piece of you with me because of the memories. Now to get sappy and give some special thanks! Thanks to Layla for always supporting me in all my writ- ing endeavors. To Ava, for always being there for me these past four years, it’s been met- amorphic to grow with you. To Brenna, for giving the best advice and always presenting a positive outlook. To Aylin, for challenging my thinking, and constantly making me laugh. To Katy, for being so supportive throughout all our hardships, you never fail to bring me joy.

I know many college students, myself included, put too much pressure on what they want from their college experience. We feel as if we need to become something in these four years and transform ourselves into professional adults that know how to navigate the world. But we’re not paragons of perfection, and we cannot expect to change into something we are not. Hardships are valuable parts of the experience, and while they can be a distraction from what one feels they need to be focusing on, or what one is told they need to enjoy, they teach us more about ourselves than we realize. And those lessons we learn are priceless, these small experiences following us throughout our lifetime, forever making an impact on who we are and how we act. Whilst the experience may be short, the memories, skills, and friendships made will be evermore.