It’s a daunting feat to write 500 words on the past four years of my life. As I was trying to figure out the theme I would center my column around, a flood of memories and thoughts came to mind. But I also realized that this is natural — how could I walk away with one conclusive life lesson when it was the little details of the everyday grind that altogether made my experience here such an incredible one?
Here's what I'll remember.
I will miss Atlanta.
I will miss being four hours away from the ocean and three hours away from the mountains. I will miss how great it feels to eat some heavy soul food meal when you’re feeling down. I will miss being in a city where you can still get lost after living here for years. I will miss hearing shout outs to my city and all its neighborhoods in hip hop and rap songs. I will even miss how hot, muggy and disorganized it is.
I will miss Emory.
I will miss the way the French department decorates the hallways with lights and poinsettas around holiday time. I will miss reading the hilarious graffiti on the wall of the 9th floor stacks when I’m supposed to be studying there. I will miss standing on the top of the Michael’s Street parking deck and looking at the Midtown skyline. I will miss what it feels like to take a deep breath in Lullwater.
I will miss my professors.
I will miss Dr. Bing exclaiming that he would have given anything to just be a “fly on his wall” whenever James Clerk Maxwell comes up in lecture. I will miss the way Li Laoshi interrupts class and gets off track for 15 minutes to impart life lessons upon her students. I will miss the way Professor Bonnefis pronounces the word “food.” I will miss always having to guess on Dr. Weinschenk’s exams.
I will miss my friends.
I will miss my bottom betches, being taken in as a third roommate by Lizzie Morgan and Kara Nester because I was always too drunk to make it home, celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary with Jessica Li and never, ever getting good advice from Jon Grenadir.
I will miss the Wheel.
I will miss being surrounded by good friends at work. I will miss Alice Chen complaining about children and judging people based on their nail color, listening to Molly Davis discuss her ingenious “The Other 1% Theory” and always being able to hear Gina Chirillo’s voice from three rooms over.
I will not miss Maggie’s.
It’s really sad for me to say goodbye to this school, but I’m also really looking forward to what comes next. Knowing that I will be leaving Emory so soon has pushed me to be cognizant and appreciative of every day. As much as I hate platitudes, I truly believe that your experiences are what you make of them — I think that’s the most important lesson I learned over the past four years.
Catherine Cai graduated from the College in May 2012. She was the Managing Editor of the Emory Wheel.