Thoughts

A Reflection on 4 Years of University

You are now reading a post from a Hofstra University alumna and holder of a Bachelor of Journalism degree. I am usually decent at putting my feelings into a post, which is why I have a “Thoughts” section on this blog. Honestly, though, how am I supposed to put into words how I feel about graduating from everything I have called home for the last four years? Just typing that question brings tears to my eyes.

There is no way to illustrate how I feel. When I first visited Hofstra, I hated it. I thought that there was no way I would go there, but I kept it on my list due to its proximity to New York City and the scholarship I received. Then, after visiting one more time for Admitted Student Day, I felt a genuine connection to the campus and its people, and eventually decided to start my collegiate career as a part of the Pride in fall of 2014.

Freshman Year

Arriving on campus, I was concerned about leaving my friends and family behind, but I knew my family would always be there, and I knew I would stay close with anyone who mattered. I am proud to say that most of the people I wanted to keep in my life still are here putting up with me. There is one other thing I knew, though: I was going to rock the next four years. I didn’t know how, I didn’t know with who, but I knew I would make them count.

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Freshman year move-in day

The first half of freshman year, I joined two clubs, and made some friends. I met who

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The cringe-worthy Instagram post from the night I met my best friend Danielle

would be my best friend the next four years on an honors college trip to see Motown the Musical. However, I didn’t feel like I fit in with the clubs, and I still didn’t have a huge group of friends. One girl in the we are friends because we just got to college and we can hang out group, was interested in Greek Life and she encouraged me to go out to recruitment events with her, as did a family friend who was already in Greek life. I was very biased about Greek life, having the stereotype that it was all partying in my head. My mind was open to about everything and anything as usual, though, and it paid off.

Jump to my second semester freshman year, I joined the radio station, WRHU, my pre-professional communications fraternity Zeta Phi Eta, my sorority Phi Sigma Sigma and the PINK Campus Street team. My “big sister” in Zeta even encouraged me to apply to the small online magazine for which she edited, and I was accepted as a writer and began my first internship for the approaching summer. My schedule went from laid back to having an intricately detailed navigation system so I could make it to all my obligations. Though the end of freshman year was still me trying to figure out how I fit into the life I created for myself, I was satisfied, had loads of friends and lots of memories to bring back home.

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Bid Day my freshman year

Sophomore Year

Fall of my sophomore year really showed me what I needed to work on, and that was finding “fun” time. I felt like I was only checking my obligations off my list, and while some of those were social events with my sorority, they never felt like more than a responsibility. Of course I still had many freeing trips to the city, brownie sundaes from the Dave and Buster’s style eatery on campus and visits to and from my then-boyfriend, and all that was fantastic. I also got a job at University Relations, which was one of the best things into which I have ever fallen. However, I started getting restless.

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One of my “freeing” trips to the city

The second semester of sophomore year, I accepted an executive board position with my sorority, and that’s when I truly felt like I belonged and mattered in the organization. Being able to have a say in my organization’s doings was a privilege I took seriously. I landed an internship with a company that provided company culture seminars and also ran a sketch comedy show. Considering there were only three people plus two interns, it was an incredibly hands-on and exciting experience. However, something in me still had me uneasy. I was about halfway through my college career, I had already made a failed study abroad attempt, I had not been out of the country in a few years (I understand this is a privileged worry to have) and I was scared I would never leave America once I got into the real world and married my career. This is how my “mid-college crisis” began, and why I studied abroad through SCO in Rome during the summer of 2016.

Junior Year

I came back from Italy a changed person. I had finally broken out of my social shell; I was not afraid to talk to fraternity boys anymore (I even dated one for a short time)! More importantly, I realized it was acceptable to stay out late and have fun, and that the essay due in a week would get done. I spent the first half of junior year having some of the best times with my sisters, brothers and friends. I had a new internship with HLN (the sister network of CNN) and Hofstra hosted a presidential debate of which I was lucky enough to be a part. However, my “mid-college crisis” was still in full swing. If I had that life-changing of a time in Rome for a month (plus the two weeks I spent exploring Europe with my best friend/partner in travel/ grandfather), why wouldn’t I go away for longer? I also thought I would go crazy if I stayed on campus all four years with all my responsibilities. So, for the second half of junior year, I studied in Perth Australia. All I will say about that is it was the freest, happiest time of my life. That can be read about in dozens of blog posts prior to this one.

 

Senior Year

 My last year as an undergraduate student is far too recent for me to put into coherent sentences (even though that is what I am about to do). I did not have an internship my first semester of senior year, and that was really smart. I had some pretty strong culture shock being back on campus after a year away. I had new sisters and brothers to meet and my schedule was pushing its limits yet again. I stopped doing the radio station, and got more heavily involved with the HEAT network, Hofstra’s television station. I ended up co-hosting a show with one of my best friends and being an international news reporter for the news show at the school of communication. I spent this semester making up for my “lack” of social life my first two years of college, working on my craft and just purely enjoying myself. I even ended the semester with my first ever 4.0 GPA.

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Director’s Cut with the soon-to-be-famous Michael Fuller

I don’t know how I ended up being a second semester senior in college, but I guess everything I wrote before this shows otherwise. My last semester was very calm compared to my previous semester. I somehow landed a dream internship with NBC’s Weekend TODAY show, which had me up at three and four in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays, and working Thursdays and Fridays as well. I am not complaining at all; I am just simply showing the change of pace between the two semesters. I spent the whole semester learning as much as I could and making the most memories I could with my friends who I would be parting with in just a few short months.

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Weekend TODAY

The last few weeks of senior year were a complete whirlwind. I made up a whole semester of social life in just three weeks between my birthday celebration, attending five fraternity and sorority formals and simply making the most of the time I had. If you are wondering: no, I did not sleep. It was all worth it and I would do it again if I could.

The few days leading up to graduation were just as much of a blur as all of college. I finished my classes, completed my internship, I went to the bar with friends to celebrate, I packed up all my belongings, decorated my graduation cap and just like that, I was done.

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My very meaningful graduation cap

Graduation day may have been one of the best days of my life. I was surrounded by all of my grandparents, my aunt, my dad, my mom, my sister, my step dad and even two of my best friends from home (who were also at my high school graduation). I also graduated right next to two of my best friends. Walking across the stage were some of the best seconds of my life. I hugged the two professors who I studied with in Italy, waved to my boss at University Relations and smiled widely the whole time.

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My family

I had no clue what college had in store for me, but I knew I was not going to let it go to waste. Here is something I saw a few graduates do:

Four years

Three continents

Two incredible organizations (Phi Sigma Sigma and Zeta Phi Eta)

One awesome TV station (HEAT)

I probably could have just written the above instead of this essay describing my journey, but it’s too late now. I graduated Hofstra University Summa Cum Laude with a degree in journalism and minors in rhetorical studies, public relations and integrated media. Besides that, I graduated with the best friends and memories someone could ask for, and there are no words to describe the gratitude I feel for the experiences I was fortunate enough to gain.

I do have to admit that I am returning to Hofstra to finish the five-year BA/MA program, so I am not completely finished. However, going back in the fall without some of my best friends and not being an active member in my organizations might be as weird as not returning at all.

Now, only if it were this easy typing almost 2,000 words for a paper. Congrats class of 2018!

8 thoughts on “A Reflection on 4 Years of University”

  1. So proud of you and all the hard work you’ve put in over the last 4 years! You really are a role model to me and I’m so glad to know someone as accomplished as you, and to have your help guiding me along the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I’m almost at a loss for words! This was, in my opinion, the best blog of all
    that you wrote! I finally got to find out exactly what your college life was really like.
    I know you always tried to make the family happy and feeling confident that you were
    absolutely fine, but deep down I knew it wasn’t always the case. However, by the end.
    you did the absolutely best job that I knew you would and we are all so proud!
    Congratulations, Sara, and much love!
    Gran

    Liked by 1 person

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