To whomever told me that college would be the best time of my life, you were wrong. The best time of my life is easily the strangest, most challenging and, in some ways, most frustrating and amazing thing that I have yet to do. However, by no means did I endeavor on a normal college experience, but rather, as many of us Tigers (is that the first time I’ve ever identified with our mascot?) do, I overextended myself. Nights, I edited this newspaper, and I cannot be more proud of its growth and the true talent of the staff I leave behind. Reporting made me walk into offices I otherwise never would have seen and acquaint myself with such a rich group of individuals on this campus. The newsroom is, by unfortunate coincidence, my campus home, almost as much as HOPE Hall was during the time I spent there, which ignited a commitment to community and service that I had previously neglected.

In true fashion, and because it seems that I do not care for sleep, I also waitressed on weekend evenings, serving many of my peers (who will remain nameless…you’re welcome) mind-eraser after fireball shot after whiskey and coke after Shiner. This lent for an interesting dynamic when many of you did not recognize my face in class or on the sidewalk; without my red lipstick and your drunken-aura I can see why I received many confused glances. I did learn, through both writing and waitressing, that you affect so many more people than you think, even if neither of you recognize it at first. It was always a rewarding feeling when someone I served thanked me or asked me how my day was, as it has been when I feel that I truly helped one of the staff members at the newspaper, and Trinity showed just how small the world can be in many of these interactions.

Like many of my classmates, Trinity was not my first choice college. In fact, and I don’t know why, it was not even on my list, but by pure happenstance, I ended up exactly where I needed to be, where there is indeed a surplus of genuine, committed students, administrators and staff, where I can’t avoid bumping into someone I know even when I don’t want to and where I’ve never felt afraid to discuss some of life’s hardest topics across a desk. Despite these facts, my time here was not necessarily simple or easy.

There were times when life did not care that I was in college and college did not care that I was trying to live, but this mutual indifference taught me something valuable: that I am capable. In no way will I ever be in total control of my life, because it is not just mine, but I will be able to handle—and not always gracefully—what has yet to come. In so many ways, the saying “it takes a village” has never been more applicable, and through trial and tribulation I have become surrounded by so many wonderful people during my time here, and rather than try to entertain you with skillfully written growth-themed anecdotes, I would like to thank them.

To my staff at the Trinitonian, thank you for letting me lead you even when I was a ridiculous, occasionally offensive and demanding leader. It was a privilege. To the staff at Bombay, thank you for having me and for making me part of your warm, eclectic work-family.

To Katharine Martin, adviser for campus publications, thank you for being a friend, a mentor, a discussion board and a non-condescending adult party when one was needed. To Patrick McMillan, thank you for fostering in me a new talent and passion. It turns out that dancing is the only physically demanding thing I do that can almost be described as “graceful,” and it was a pleasure.

To the campus staff and administration, especially Dr. Bachrach, Dean Tuttle, President Ahlburg and Dr. Reams, thank you for your constant open doors, open ears and shared wisdom.

To the entire anthropology and sociology department, and especially Dr. Montoya, thank you for teaching courses which literally left me  feeling inspired nearly every day, for not straying from the taboo and for making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. Because of your instruction, I found my extremely niche, slightly morbid but intellectually valuable calling, which is all a social scientist can ask for.

To my friends here at Trinity and otherwise, thanks for putting up with me.

To my family, thank you for your emotional, physical, financial and mental investment. You believed in me even when I was confused  by who “me” was, even when I changed my major multiple times, even when I was distant or overly-present, and I will always need that, so don’t stop.

And to Trinity, as a whole, thank you for fostering a space in which I simultaneously struggled and coped, wandered and found, cried, laughed, loved, made mistakes and learned. Just for everything.

Faith Ozer is graduating with a bachelor of arts in anthropology and a concentration in global health.