A thank you note to U.Va.

To all the people and places who made these four years wonderful

I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the end of my fourth year. In theory, I knew I would be sad to leave this place. I knew it would be weird to transition to something new. But I expected it to be more like the feeling you get when you find out that your favorite ice cream store is going out of business, or your favorite TV show is ending. I didn’t expect to feel the deep sense of loss mingled with fear that I have begun to experience recently.

But instead of dwelling on this sadness, I prefer to focus on the gratitude I feel for the good times I have had here. So, I would like to write a thank-you note to U.Va.

To the Lawn, thank you for being a reliable taste of heaven on earth on sunny days. Thank you for providing a center where our community can gather in both good times and bad. Thank you for letting hundreds of students throw snowballs across your blanket of snow late at night. Thank you for providing the trees where I could fail at slacklining and the rocking chairs where I can run into my friends as I walk to class. Thank you for constantly inspiring me to act like a tourist in my own home, just to try one more time to fully capture your beauty on camera. Thank you for the fact that I’ll never be able to.

To the Gardens, thank you for the shadowy corners where you have allowed me to sit and find solitude. Thank you for your windy brick walls that I’ll never find anywhere else. Thank you for allowing me to read, pray, laugh, cry, stargaze, play croquet and sip coffee with friends.

To Alderman Library, thank you for being too large and mysterious to ever really figure out. Thank you for housing way more books than any one person could ever read. Thank you for providing a place for me to fuel my caffeine addiction. Thank you for allowing me to pretend I go to Hogwarts.

To the Corner, thank you for providing a soundtrack for my walk home every day. Thank you for your unique mix of delicious and questionable smells. Thank you for your many options of coffeehouses. Thank you for the gift of oozing cream cheese from a Bodo’s bagel, gooey brownie at Arch’s and brunch at The Pigeon Hole.

To the Blue Ridge Mountains, thank you for always proving there is something beautiful on the horizon. Thank you for giving me a place to get away when life became too hectic.

To my professors, thank you for sharing your passions and intellectual interests with me. Thank you for having office hours, even if I never went to them. Thank you for helping me cultivate my love for reading and writing. Thank you for always reminding me that my perspective is not the only one.

To my friends, thank you for making this place my home. Thank you for the smiles you greet me with. Thank you for asking how my day has been and for listening to my answer. Thank you for eating meals with me, going on adventures with me, lying on the Lawn with me and sharing your thoughts with me. But most of all, thank you for loving me.

To everyone who has ever read my columns, thank you for listening to my reflections. It has been a privilege to have this platform to communicate bits of my college experience over the past four years. I hope you may have gained something along the way, but even if not, thank you for your support.

Winnie the Pooh once said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Thank you to God for giving me so many people, places and memories that are so difficult to leave behind. And thank you for the fact that I’ll never really have to, because I will carry it all with me in my heart.

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