If there is one thing I’ve learned since I’ve been at Trinity, it’s that I should walk across that stage in Laurie to get my diploma with pride – not just of everything I have accomplished, but of my entire four years at Trinity, because even the mistakes have taught me lessons, and failures just mean that I’ve tried. Believe me when I tell you that, as cliché as it sounds, it feels so, so much better to have tried and failed than to have never tried in the first place. Seeing the results may not always be the most immediately gratifying experience, but nothing is more agonizing than sitting and wondering what could have been. When those mistakes come—and they will, trust me on this—own them. Turn them into a learning experience, be proud of what you’ve learned and make it a part of you.

As someone who came to Trinity with a crippling fear of rejection, the best decision I made was to finally shrug off that fear and go out for positions, say what was on my mind, and be myself. It was gratifying.

This is not to say that my whole experience at Trinity has been a big failure. The success stories absolutely outweigh anything else. But I couldn’t have succeeded in much had I only taken actions that I was positive would lead to the best possible results, and neither would I be the person I am today, and you know what? I am proud of that person.

A few toasts:

1.    To Viki, my first roomie and friend at Trinity who has been through everything with me from the beginning in our quarantined room in the crazy hall. I’m a little sad that we won’t be opening up that laundromat/ice cream shop anytime soon now that we’re actually graduating, but we’re still young. There’s still time to achieve our dreams.

2.    To Maria, who is also fluent in cat—you’ve seen me at my best and my worst, and I’m very thankful to count you as a friend, as I think anybody who has patiently endured that much weirdness is unquestionably one of the best friends anybody could ever have. (And not a bad LOTR drinking game buddy, either.)

3.    To the music seniors, Mu Phites, and anybody else who hangs out in the lounge—particularly if you’ve ever gotten me a Diet Coke from the Coke machine—I’m going to need my pillow back at some point. Or not, as it’ll give me an excuse to come back next year.

4.    To the Trinitonian staff who allowed me to crash their post-midnight shenanigans on Thursday nights/Friday mornings this semester—I loved working with you guys. Brooke, it’s been really fun working with you and getting to know you this semester— don’t be too quiet next year!

Thank you to professors, staff and students who are a part of the wonderful Trinity community for making my experience memorable. I am so glad for the entirety of my time here, and I will be sad to see it go, although I am really looking forward to what comes next. For those of you moving onto another year at Trinity—enjoy the ride!

Emily McMillan is graduating with a degree in English and religion. She is the vice president of Mu Phi Epsilon and senior copy editor for the Trinitonian.