For most of the members of the Class of 2023, myself included, we could spend ages simply trying to assemble the right combination of words to put on a page to explain our experiences.
For me, I frankly don’t have the power to communicate the story of these last four years, not that anyone would have any particular interest in hearing about my journey.
But we Cardinals all have our individual stories, individual tales of triumph, growth, and learning that we have sown together at SVSU, and, whether or not others take an interest in those stories is irrelevant.
Our stories are united in that they are the stories of SVSU Cardinals.
Over the past four years, we have gone through tumultuous times the likes of which few before us have endured.
Most of us embarked on the journey of higher education in the fall of 2019 with innocent eyes and clean faces, just to be thrown into the muddy pit of reality when the COVID-19 pandemic swallowed us whole.
Everything any of us knew was uprooted; we were young adults, too young to have our own firm foundation in life with a family and career, while too old to be blissfully ignorant of the pandemonium our world was swallowed by.
I have endured the trials, tribulations, defeats, victories, hate and love that my college experience put me through, much like all of you.
The Coronavirus pandemic threw me into new depths of depression and anxiety I am still recovering from.
Controversial politics birthed a new animosity, a wild rage fueled by anxiety that still swims in the hearts and minds of Americans of the 2020’s, me included.
My college courses often reflected the controversy and contention of the times, demonstrating that college is no bubble; it goes hand in hand with the world around us.
As an education major, this was all the more relevant to me. As a teacher of tomorrow, I must be alert and considerate of the changing times.
What should remain the same, and what should change? What is right?
What is wrong?
Times change, and it is not enough to be ready for the change; we must be the change.
Whatever change we cause, we know it must be for the maintenance of the peace, justice and freedom we have, as well as our constant pursuit for something greater.
My education at SVSU did not shy away from exposing me to the burden of responsibility that rests of my shoulders.
SVSU has prepared me, whatever my beliefs may be, to face the world as it is and how it can be changed.
SVSU has taught me that beliefs can change just as society changes, and our constant absorption of new experiences and learning leads to limitless growth.
From 2019 to present day, we have all found our way through terribly emotional times, and SVSU has helped to shape our malleable minds into thoughtful, hardened tools ready to face the world and all its challenges and hardships.
For us, there is no hurdle too high, no obstacle too formidable for us to overcome.
Through my experiences as a receptionist in the Writing Center, a reporter for The Valley Vanguard, an intern with the Conference Center at SVSU, a podcaster for the Cardinal Radio and a member of the Wolohan Fellowship, I have become the man I am today.
I am not the boy who began college in 2019. I am a veteran of the pandemic; I am a young adult who has been exposed to diverse perspectives that have opened my mind to new ideas and beliefs.
I am a giant puzzle that has been assembling itself one piece at a time, and SVSU has provided the pieces.
My puzzle has a long way to go, but SVSU got me started. For what more could I ask?
Although this is my final article for The Valley Vanguard, I will continue to communicate my thoughts and ideas through other channels and with other people.
I have written things people hate and things people love. Both reactions to my writing are personal victories.
I have inspired dialogue; I have encouraged discourse and the exchange of ideas and opinions, no matter how emotional or retaliatory.
SVSU embraces this philosophy of thought and communication, for it is the unceasing and unyielding desire to share our thoughts, ideas and experiences with others that makes us human; it is how we as a society can grow and evolve to face the challenges of our times.
Forged in fire, we Cardinals will emerge a sharpened blade ready to lead our generation’s charge into the future.
This reality cannot be undermined.
We are the leaders, the doctors, the teachers, the nurses, the businesspeople, the politicians and the engineers of tomorrow, and the world we shape is the world we leave for our children and our children’s children.
We are the architects of the world before us. We understand sacredness of this responsibility.
We are the vanguards of tomorrow and we are the Cardinals of SVSU.
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