By Caitlin Ludwig | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Ashley Goodman
As graduation approaches, waves of emotions crash over me as I reflect on my past four years here at Flagler. I am just now realizing how much I took for granted, and often find myself contemplating dropping a class only so I can stay a little while longer. It’s very bittersweet knowing that in two months I’ll be graduating, but also embarking on the next chapter of my life.
Of course there were times that made me want to transfer, but if I could back to freshman year and do it all over again, I would.
Whether it was a stressful schedule or a personal issue, there were trying times here that made me want to drop it all and leave. Flagler took me out of my comfort zone. I came from a high school with more classmates than the undergraduate program here, and while it was larger in population, it lacked the diversity I have found here at Flagler. I have become close friends with people here whom I could never picture myself being friends with four years ago.
There is a unique culture here, both at Flagler and St. Augustine, and I have come to embrace it and thank it for transforming me into the person I am today. I have learned more here in my four years than I have anywhere else. The ups and downs have helped prepare me for the challenges I will face upon entering the real world. I appreciate every moment that has led me to where I am today.
For some reason, no matter what’s going on at the time, there is something so peaceful about driving over the Bridge of Lions and seeing the silhouette of the school and the palm trees in the distance. It’s in that moment that I am in both awe of Flagler’s beauty, and the positive impact it’s had on my life. It’s very depressing to think that I will no longer be making that drive after May 3rd. It actually terrifies me. I have called Flagler and St. Augustine my home for the past four years, and the thought of leaving breaks my heart.
Although I’m making a big transition by moving to New York City in August, I will always have a giant place in my heart for this small town. I’ll miss seeing the “characters” of Saint Augustine, being able to go to the beach whenever it’s nice out, and all the random nights I experienced here. I’ll even miss school, especially the intimacy of the classes which is something I know I will not experience in an office in NYC. Whether it was a friend, a teacher, or an experience, Flagler has taught me so much that I will carry with me forever.
Writing this almost makes me tear up as I replay all of the amazing times I’ve had here. My biggest regret will be not taking full advantage of all that was offered me just because I let a few incidents distract me from all the good that Flagler and St. Augustine continually offers. And while I can’t go back in time, I can fully embrace my last two months here.
If I could give anyone advice, it would be to not hold grudges, don’t take things too seriously (besides your schoolwork), and appreciate the time with your friends here because those four, (or five or six) years fly by way too fast.
Not to sound like an inspirational quote from the side of a coffee cup, but cherish absolutely every moment you have here, and learn from it. The school and its surrounding area provides so many opportunities to learn and grow from, lessons that will benefit you long after college.
I am excited for what my future holds, but I wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for Flagler. I urge everyone to take the time to stop and realize everything this school has to offer, and take full advantage of it.
Don’t time slip by or let bad experiences last longer than a moment because before you realize it, graduation will be here. So look around at our beautiful campus and town and realize that while you most likely won’t be here forever, Flagler and St. Augustine will forever be with you. I wouldn’t want to receive a diploma from any other college, and I am forever grateful for my time here.