It feels really odd to type this but I graduated from DePaul University this past Sunday. I think it feels so weird to say because maybe it doesn’t exactly feel real yet. I grew up, like many others, with a dedication to school and my work for it. It’s all I’ve known since I was little and now, I’m being thrust into the real world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so passionate about my industry and I can’t wait to transition into the “real world,” but it still doesn’t feel real.
I remember applying to colleges like it was yesterday. Heck, I remember entering high school as a young girl like it was yesterday. I try to remind myself all of that led me to this moment. This is really the start of my life and of true adulthood. It all sounds so cliche but it’s how I view it anyway. Again, like many others, college shaped me into who I am today and I’m so grateful for the past four years and all that I got to experience. There were many ups and downs but some moments and memories in particular that I want to take some time to reflect on.
I chose DePaul because I knew I wanted to live in a “big city.” I moved around my whole life and finally got to choose where I wanted to live and was set on a city like New York, Boston, Los Angeles, or Chicago. While I loved New York and my acceptance to NYU was tempting, Chicago called my name and DePaul’s scholarship was more than generous. I’ve never regretted my choice of DePaul, even during the hardest of times. It wasn’t easy to be so far from my parents as an attached only child, but I managed, even if it meant frequent trips home and lots of FaceTime sessions.
It sounds incredibly cheesy, but the city has been my campus for the past four years, just as DePaul said it would be. I learned so much not just in the classroom, but even on my train rides to and from downtown, in the smallest of moments. I learned about life and myself and what I wanted for both. Initially, I was a journalism major and quickly transitioned to public relations and advertising once I learned it even exist. Since that point in my freshman year, I’ve made it my mission to learn all that I possibly can about public relations and haven’t looked back. I had around seven internships and a handful of jobs during those four years and needless to say, it was hard to balance everything but I somehow managed it. When it comes to interning, I’ve been called a “super intern.” There were few quarters in which I didn’t have an internship. While some were better than others, I’m grateful for all those that took a chance on me and allowed me to learn from them and their offices. I’m certain my internships are the root of my love for public relations. I may have graduated but I’ll never stop learning, growing, or challenging myself.
Another memorable aspect of college for me was joining my sorority, Phi Mu, as a founding member. After graduating high school in the south, I thought I was certain I didn’t want to join a sorority at DePaul. I didn’t even realize we had sororities in the first place! After strolling through the student center one day in January, I came across Phi Mu women tabling to recruit for the new chapter. I was at a pretty unhappy point in college and realized I needed the sisterhood they talked to me so passionately about. Though I was initially apprehensive and unsure of what the sorority would come to mean to me, my three and a half years in Phi Mu shaped me into the woman I am today. Not only this, but I also met the women that matter to me the most, including my little sister, Luzi. Without her, college would’ve been rather lonely and I’d be an entirely different person. You know those people that just mold your life? That’s her. Overall, I was taught how to be thankful, generous, kind, loving, and how to lead. Phi Mu even brought along leadership opportunities as I was our public relations chairman for two terms and both a Rho Gamma (recruitment counselor) and an executive board member for the Panhellenic Council, two experiences I will never forget.
Lastly, DePaul led me to my boyfriend, Austin. For that, I’m endlessly grateful. I always think, if one of us had gone to another school or life had other plans in general, we may have never met. Or maybe we would have if it was truly fate, but regardless of all the “what ifs,” we did met and our just about three-year relationship has defined my college experience. We grew up together, we’ve traveled to different places like Canada, Italy, and Thailand. We’ve gone to weddings, celebrated Thanksgivings, Christmases, and more. We’ve become home for one another. Though it’s only been three years, it feels like we went from 19 years old and naive to 22 years old and almost complete adults alongside one another. I’m certain I couldn’t have gotten through the rough times without his arms to fall into or enjoyed the celebratory ones without him to clink a glass of wine with. Without his support, I’d be nowhere.
I know this post is a bit different than what I normally do, but I feel as though the occasion called for it. I’m extremely excited about my future, as well as Austin’s, as we tackle Chicago as college graduates together. I know there are only far better things ahead than what we leave behind! Have a great week, everyone!
Photography by Lexi Marie Photo.