So here we are – at the end of a long road, although I suspect that my road might have been quite a bit longer than most of yours.

I came to Trinity in 2010 as a transfer student after receiving my associate’s degree in Communications (yes, Dr. Henderson, there is an ‘s’ at the end of that one) at Palo Alto and after serving quite a few years in the Army. I have never formally conducted a survey on this, but I remain convinced that I am the oldest undergrad student on this campus (somebody please tell me I’m wrong).

I came to Trinity determined to make the most of my time here. It was a minor miracle I was able to attend Trinity in the first place, so I was not going to waste my time or education. I wanted to get involved, challenge myself and learn as much as I could.

For the most part, I think I achieved the goals I set for myself at the beginning, I never did anything crazy like rush a sorority, but being a reporter and editor for the Trinitonian got me more involved and immersed in the campus than anything else I could have done – maybe a little too immersed at times (Thursday nights at midnight are no fun when you’re stuck down in the newsroom putting pages together and there’s no margarita in sight).

I know I challenged myself. I took on a double major while still supporting myself (parents tend to frown on continuing to support you financially after you reach a certain age – remember that). No matter what homework I had, I still had bills that had to be paid. I often sacrificed sleep and partying with my friends for my GPA. It wasn’t always fun, but in the end I did what I had to do.

And I know I learned a lot. My classes challenged me to think in ways I hadn’t considered before. They challenged my beliefs and the things I thought I knew. I have done things I didn’t think were possible, and I’ve had encouragement and support every step of the way.

As a result, I’m leaving Trinity an educated, confident person ready to take on the world in new ways. There’s a lot more that defines me now than just being a veteran (and possibly the oldest undergrad on campus).

At the risk of sounding cliché, these truly are the best years of your life. Trust me, I’ve been in the real world, guys, it’s not as much fun as college (but there is less homework so it’s a definite trade-off). So, seniors, I hope you made the most of this time. If not, it’s too late now. Go to grad school and try again.

As for me, I’m off to my next great adventure. I’m headed to Russia in September on a Fulbright grant – the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, sacrifice and probably some blood, sweat and tears along the way. Believe me, it’s all been worth it. (I’ll try to remember I said that when I’m sitting in some hovel in Siberia next winter.)

Kellie Benn is the Trinitonian News Editor. She graduating with degrees in Russian and communication.