College graduation, never thought I’d see the day
As college graduation approaches and I look at how far I have come, I am almost in disbelief that I will really be receiving my diploma, the golden ticket out of school I’ve been waiting for.
It has been a long time since I failed sixth-grade math and had to go to summer school. It has been a long time since I told myself, “Just make it to 16 and legally you can drop out.” I hate school. I’ve always hated school. But journalism opened my eyes to how much I can love learning if I am learning about what I am passionate about.
Since coming here, I stopped saying that I am “stupid” as I had shrugged and told people for many years. When I first came to Seton Hall for the freshmen weekend, the class of 2015 sat in an auditorium and we were told that the University had admitted us even though we had received some of the lowest testing scores to date. In my head I said, “they’re talking about me.” They were, but throughout my college career I proved that standardized tests cannot judge how successful a person will be in life.
I want to thank Seton Hall for giving a chance to a kid who didn’t look promising, but I also recognize that the achievements I accomplished while here are my own. I won’t say Seton Hall “shaped me into who I am today,” because that was all me. Since coming here, I was appointed News Editor as only a sophomore. I have interned for a great magazine and newspaper and I have been published in both several times. I am Editor in Chief of The Setonian.
I did this because I realized what I wanted and vowed to not let anything jeopardize that. I would like to apologize to the college friends I didn’t stay in touch with, but I want to tell them thank you for the memories and I still love you all. I just needed to buckle down and get focused for the little 12-year-old girl who didn’t think she could make it past high school. And even though I cut myself off from the “fun,” I’m still the same person I always was and will be. I still plan on trekking down to Tennessee this June to Bonnaroo, my favorite music festival. I’ve learned over the past two years that if you work hard you can reward yourself, but that the work has to come first.
Looking back, I should have always known journalism was my calling. My friends and family joke about it now, saying I was always the first one to know what was going on in everyone else’s lives and then made it a point to tell everyone. When a fight broke out in the hallway I was the first one to go running after it (probably when I should have been in class, so there was my first problem).
I want to say to my parents, “thanks for always supporting and believing in me even though I didn’t believe in myself. You were right as usual…I really could do it. And I did. Can you believe it? I’m graduating college.” And just as a side note, and I hope to not veer too much off track, but the band Sun Kil Moon put out an album, Benji, in 2014, and on it there was a track called “Pray for Newtown.” The song tells people when big moments are happening in their lives, such as a marriage or birthday, or, hey, a graduation, to think of the kids who lost their lives in the shooting at Newtown and of their families…the parents who will never hear their kids say “I did it, I graduated college,” as I am so fortunate enough to say.
So, there’s my moment, Sun Kil Moon. I really am thinking about them. To wrap this up, I’d like to quote every journalism student’s favorite reporter, Hunter S. Thompson: “We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way.” In the end, I did everything for me. So I can make a good life for myself. Watch out for my byline.
Lindsay Rittenhouse is a senior journalism major from Howell, N.J., and can be reached at lindsay. firstname.lastname@example.org.