Change. It’s what we came here seeking. We came here hoping to become better than we had been. We came here hoping to grow from our experiences into the vision we have for ourselves. We came here hoping to find those visions mirrored in the halls and classrooms which would help shape the thoughts that would bring our dreams into reality. And, here we are. Changed? Undoubtedly. Are we where we thought we’d be? Perhaps not. We expected changes to be forged in our minds. We may not have expected the changes etched in our hearts.
In this place we have faced tasks and tests. We have built friendships so deep that we cannot imagine a time in our lives without them. We have studied all night, frustrated over group projects, and lamented the lack of a Starbucks on campus. Yet, all of these struggles may have been considered for they are what we expect from education. What we may not have bargained for is the vulnerability, the fear, and the self-doubt. That’s the real part of us, the part we work to hide; the part we will cover over and pretend isn’t there. It’s also the part that’s with us at 3 a.m. as we are banging out another paper or cramming for the exam.
Finding our place in the world requires a quest. William and Mary becomes our arena for the journey. We have proven every day that we can rise to the challenge, face our peers, and in the end, face ourselves. And in the fires of those battles of late nights, early mornings, sleepless weekends, awkward loves and all the other wonderful and difficult things we face we become stronger, wiser, more compassionate, and more engaged. We become resilient. We become who we are meant to be. We become changed.