Tomorrow, I graduate. The prospect is 80% thrilling and 20% terrifying. This is four years of restless nights, rainy days, broken hearts and new horizons coming to an abrupt end when Dr. Phipps says a prayer and we move our tassels to the left. We join the ranks of the a new demographic: the college-educated young adult, the millennial, and (for most of us) the unemployed. I've had a couple bouts of pre-grad anxiety. Once a couple months ago, my senior project adviser Dr. Heidi Lee spent about an hour assuring me that I was a marketable job candidate, I just might need to wait a while. Last night, Michelle Canales was gracious enough to reassure me that I haven't wasted my time here, that I have left some sort of imprint on my friends and on my college. As Tony Stark says in Iron Man 2 "It's not about me, it's not about you, it's not even about us; it's about legacy, what comes after us."
I'm still jumpy. I'm trapped alone in an empty apartment right now in the company of a dazed and confused bumblebee the size of my knuckle that's making weird poltergeist noises as it beats itself against the window glass like a martyr. I yelled like a bitch when it flew within inches of my ear.
I'd like to say it'd be too hard to thank you all personally for all that you've done for me over these past four years, but that's cowardice and laziness.
-Dr. Heidi Lee: Couldn't have made it without you. There's just no way. All those times when I wanted to ditch the project, all I needed was a little shot of optimism and confidence from you and things just started looking up. Good luck with your new life in the Philly area. I think I speak for the whole department in saying you will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
-Drs. Crystal Downing, Sam Smith, Matt Roth, Pete Powers and Helen Walker: Thanks for all your efforts in converting me from an overconfident high-schooler into a mature critical voice. If my writing ever brings me fame and fortune, I'll donate to the school. If it only brings me pleasure and balance, then you've still given me a precious gift.
-Drs. Jim Makowski, Michael Shin, John Harms, Gerald Hess, Erik Lindquist, David Foster, Ted Davis, Karl Oberholser, Roseann Sachs, Anne Reeve and Rick Schaeffer: Thanks for a stellar and comprehensive education in biology. Your classes made me think not just about science, but about all the implications of that science for society and for Christianity. Keep on doing what you're doing.
-Drs. O'Hara, Joshi, Siddiqui, Gillespie, and Utada Sensei at Temple University: You helped make my Philly semester the best of my college career. Go Owls!
-Dr. Larry Lake: Thanks for all the years of competent, kindhearted, and optimistic advising. You stuck with me even when things got rough and I can't thank you enough (no rhyme intended, but it works).
-Anthony Francesco and Andrew Exner: You guys have been amazing roommates. Thanks for tolerating my obsession with cooking and my suckage at Smash Bros.
-Chad Wright: Good times in Philly bro. Seriously, if you read this, get in touch with me when I get back. We need to catch up.
-Kat Reid, Chris Rogers, Matt Dean, Kinley Zook, Juliette Brinks, Laura Dagley, Laura Waller, Pete Corning, Rita Testa, Inna Potekhina and the rest of you dirty RestoHouse hippies: You guys have been nothing short of incredible. You are one of the few groups on campus who practice what the school actually preaches. Stay awesome. Kat in particular, thanks for all the delicious tea and thoughtful chat. I hope to see you over the summer.
-Michelle Canales: I really have no words. You have inspired me, consoled me and risen to the challenge when I needed you the most.
-Holly Perozzi, Lisa Lindle, Kat Roten: Junior year was tough, but you guys were a perpetual source of relaxation and good times. I'm glad that you all seem to be getting on fine in the "real world." It gives me hope for myself.
-Liz Kraft: Never stop being a BAMF. It's your job, right?
-Rich Chagnon, Bryant Vance, Phil Hobbes, Katelyn Ayers, Rich Shively, Brittney Smith, Lindsay Gatesman, Leah Deputy, Wathira Mbage, Christal Liaw, Kelsey Theuerkauf, Sam Moore, Jevon Gondwe, Mark Netti, Charissa Brown and the rest of the Spring '09 Philly Crew: Philly will live on forever in our hearts. I had a great time with you guys and made some friends that I probably wouldn't have back in Grantham.
-Ashley Pim, Andrea Grove: Two of the most incredible people I know. Good luck with your last semester. Keep the "super" in super-seniors.
-Gillian Smith, Victoria Yunez, Caroline Sharp, Brian Behm, Tyler Chick: Thanks for all the years of good times. It's been one giant party with you guys and I hope we can stay in touch over the upcoming years.
-Bea Sasondoncillo: If there's one thing I learned from you, it's never give up, never frown, never stop loving.
-Alyssa Lord, Emily Williams, Dave Miller, Brittani Mazzone, Phil Martin, Karl Schlobohm, Katrina Campbell, Carolyn Wheatley: Guys, we did it! We're obfuscated idiosyncratic literati now. Go team!
-Ray Yaegle: Messiah College should mint a special medal and hang it around your neck. Seriously, you kept this past year hilarious. Hope you get the job in Maryland.
-Steven Collier: I leave it to you, Gillian, Kinley, and Anthony to keep the department cool in our absence. Carry the torch high, brother.
-Jaime White, Sari Heidenreich, Morgan Lee, Tom Brown, Evan Scott, Lindsay Prior, Ashley Dorty, Brian Pennington, Chris Markley: Greatest staff ever! I think we did some great things this year. Finally, the paper is on the right track for the future.
-April Lindley, Becky Minnick: Don't stop believin' Hold on to that feeeeeeling.
-Elisabeth Sharber: I think all those times I burst into your apartment Kramer-like warrant your own line.
-Elizabeth Gager: I think it's all been said already, but this list wouldn't be complete without you.
-Billy Leonhardt: Shoop-da-whoop?
-Ethan Lichtenberger, Dave Alderfer, Jenn Kelley, Cimone Philips, Allison Stella, Hannah Beatty, Andrew Thompson, Amanda Carlson, Cindy Lee, Devin Thomas, Katie Manzullo, Evan Peck, Ryan Manieri, Josh Lebo, Matt Sakow, Ryan Faus, Shanna Lodge, Tim Brensinger, Amy Chrisfield: Okay, NOW I'm getting lazy. You guys rule, capeesh?
-Mindy Maslin: Yeah, okay. Thanks for talking me into coming here.
-Brittany Eltman: Can't wait to see you tomorrow....
-Mr. Bumblebee: Seriously dude, GTFO of my room. Geeze.
You guys mean the world to me. As long as we have love and Facebook, we'll never truly be parted. I know I've quoted this at you before, but I think it bears repeating now.
Remember your name
Do not lose hope--what you seek will be found
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.
Never forget. Messiah College Centennial Class.