I grappled for a while on what exactly I should include in my senior reflection. I have waited to write this ever since I joined the Wheel, and with commencement less than a week away, I drew a blank. Should I go the sappy, sentimental route? Or should I give sage, all-knowing, 22-year-old advice? Both? Is there any way I can mention Hillary Clinton in this piece?
In all seriousness, one of the hardest things I have done in college (besides write my final paper for my French class on Henri Michaux’s Mouvements, a book of 64 ink splotches, literally) is to sum up my four-year Emory experience in 500 measly words. But I’m going to try.
Despite having the odds stacked against us — we’re graduating at a time when half of us will be unemployed or underemployed next year — my classmates are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. One of my best friends will graduate with a degree in both biology and French, after having served on the Emory Wheel editorial board for her entire college career, writing a thesis, working in a lab in the human genetics department and interning for the National Institute of Health for two years. Next year, she’ll be entering an MD/PhD program for eight years. Damn, girl.
One of my roommates, despite securing an investment banking job for next year even before the start of the fall semester, worked 20 hours a week at a local sandwich shop to save money. Over four years, my fellow co-President of Emory Model UN built up the team from traveling to only three conferences a year to traveling to eight, and being ranked 13th in the nation. We may be going into a tough job market, but we’re not going down without a fight.
Our professors, too, even though we may hate them for those 25-page research papers all due on the same day, work incredibly hard. Justin Esarey, thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Kyle Beardsley, thank you for dealing with my frantic, time-sensitive, MUN-related emails. Pamela Scully, I hope one day I can get on your level. And to Amin, Audrey and M. Bonnefis, thank you for helping me rediscover my love of the French language.
And finally, here’s where I offer some unsolicited advice to current Emory students, so indulge me for a couple sentences. Try everything, but put your heart into what you love. Nothing is worse than looking back on four years of your life and feeling like you haven’t really done anything. Sure, you added some lines to your resume, but what did you really do? Trust me, it’s a lot easier to put your time into something you enjoy rather than something you feel like you should do. I know this seems obvious, but it’s worth really thinking about.
I’ll admit: four years ago when I was applying to college, Emory wasn’t my first choice. But four years later, I can’t imagine spending my college career anywhere else.
Gina Chirillo graduated from the College in May 2012. She was Co-President of Emory Model United Nations.