It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday
It’s a bittersweet moment as the school year draws to a close: seniors anticipate completing exams and homework assignments for the last time (if they aren’t going to graduate school), but at the same time, they’re losing their security blankets and being dumped into the real world.
Raise Your Glasses To the Sky…
Reggie Daniels, a senior at Hood College, is on a first class trip to the real world, but he doesn’t seem that bothered. With less than 40 days until graduation, Daniels coolly sits back in a metal chair under a under a large blue umbrella in front of Coblentz Dining Hall and says he’s doing “pretty well” this semester in terms of coursework and planning for post graduation.
A business administration and marketing major, Daniels says he is taking 15 credits, which includes his first internship at Rely Local, a company in Frederick that markets local businesses.
With a New Semester Comes New Responsibilities
Daniels says he has played on Hood’s basketball team for all four years of his college career. This year, Daniels became the captain of Hood’s basketball team, the Blazers. He says the title has brought on more responsibilities including “making sure my teammates are doing well in class.” He prides himself on being a mentor to his younger teammates and says, “The freshmen have mandatory study hall, but not the older guys. Honestly it’s on yourself [if you fail your classes and get on academic probation]. We’re always around and help each other out.”
What’s Next for Reggie Daniels?
His eyes light up as he says he’s “swaying back and forth between playing basketball overseas and working with his parents at one of their two clothing stores located in Baltimore, Maryland.”
It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s a Multi-tasker
Rhiannon Sneeringer, an economics major at Hood, is another senior with a promising future in front of her. It’s evident that Sneeringer is successfully making it through senior year because of her support system, which includes her mom, her Professor, Erin George, her Star’s boss, Elizabeth Gomer as well as Christine Malone, her residential assistant supervisor.
Her Eggs are in Different Baskets
There seems like there is no club or extracurricular activity that Sneeringer isn’t a part of---she was a Resident Assistant and part of Habitat for Humanity for three years, she’s currently on class council, she’s working on the Senior Fund Committee, she’s a Star’s tour guide, she’s on the Alumni Executive Board, and she’s been asked to be a student representative.
“I got experience with confrontation, diversity, fire extinguishers, cutting [as a form of self-inflicted violence] and the science of suicide, and situations I wasn’t really comfortable with,” she says. She says all of her experiences were rewarding and she doubts that she could have acquired the same skillset while working one job.
Life is a Highway
“I will literally figure it out as we go,” she laughs. Sneeringer says she would like to go to graduate school, but wants to “wait so she can try to find a job that will fund her education.” One of the schools she’s considering is the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
She says, “[College] has been a fun ride and I’ll miss it, but we’ll be done soon, and we can start a new chapter in our lives. I hope that everyone finds something that will make them happy after we graduate.”
Believing in the Power of Camaraderie
No one seems more excited about the upcoming graduation season than three women on campus: Dean Olivia White, the Reverend Beth O’Malley, and Melanie Eyler, the administrative assistant to the vice president. They have watched the seniors grow from flustered freshmen and timid transfer students to strong and successful seniors. The table in White’s office is methodically lined with elephant figurines and a sign sits boldly on top of a plaque that says, “Do what you love.”
“I have 7 classes of folks that have graduated, O’Malley says. “Increasingly, I see more of them coming back because they just want some tender love and care and confidence building. It’s exciting it's to see all the places that have opportunities for our graduates.”
“Many graduates work for the National Institutes for Health, Fort Detrick, biotech companies in the area, and school systems,” White adds. “They're all over. Some have even gone aboard.”
When Life Gives you Lemons
One of the biggest problems the three have noticed is that students constantly compare themselves to their friends and classmates.
“Students get caught in is the sense of the right thing to do,” O’Malley says. “There is no better place than to explore and make mistakes than here. It doesn't define you.”
Eyler points out that a lot of students are hard on themselves if things don’t go as planned. “Be courageous,” she says. “Don't be afraid to fail. Trust in the gifts and skills you have and the education you acquired while at Hood.”
Dean White notes that she knows students who stress themselves out trying to achieve perfection. “Failure is a part of our lives, “she says. “It makes us better and hopefully it makes us appreciate things more once we've accomplished something. It doesn't have to be huge---it can just be a small step.”
White says if students are feeling overwhelmed, they should “Just pause.” She noted, “Maybe it's a time to step back and reflect. Maybe it's not the job or graduate school that you wanted, but things happen for a reason and I believe in that.”
The women note that during senior year, the students come together. “Seniors rediscover each other,” O’Malley says. “People that they started with and fell out of friendships with. It's a lot of enjoying the fellowship of Hood that happens that last week. They want the very best for all of the students at Hood.
O’Malley says, “We want you to succeed not just in your profession, but in your personal life. We want you to be healthy and strong and satisfied and joyful. We hope we've equipped you for that and we hope you know that you can count on us to continue to be your cheerleaders. No experience is wasted and students should get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You're going to live through this.”
Eyler says that seniors should savor being here [because] we race through so much of this stuff. She adds that she thinks it’s good for alums to stay in touch with staff and students at Hood because it “makes the network that much bigger and broadens everybody’s experiences.”
No matter what experiences you’ve had at Hood---drunken nights vomiting at a basketball game, tanning and playing Frisbee with you friends on the quad, approaching that really cute girl from your Chemistry class, waiting in line on Thursday for chicken nuggets at the Dining Hall, sharing a kiss with your crush in the Pergola, listening to that new Kendrick Lamar CD with your window open on a Spring Day, getting that first A in Professor Orloff’s class, or attending a Whitaker Wednesday event---these memories are permanent and will travel with you as you continue on your path to greatness.