by Lucy Collins
My four years at Roanoke have not been the average four years that a traditional college senior would have experienced. Although every individual college experience is different, my class has had to experience a pandemic, the emergence of online schooling, and then the reinstitution of in-person schooling. Because of this my college experience has ranged from the community of dear old Roanoke. Roanoke College has blessed me with the most amazing friends, mentors, and experiences that have proven to be essential to my life and my future.
Coming into Roanoke as a freshman, I was apprehensive about the friends I would make and where I stood in the community. Although I am a very social person, I attribute the foundations of my social experience at Roanoke to my freshman year roommate, Emma. The two of us were inseparable, and still are, as we have been roommates on and off throughout these four years. I thank her for introducing me to our core group of friends at Roanoke: Bailey, Emerson, Lizzie, Maddie, Ashley, and Riley. I am undeniably bound to this group of girls who created an atmosphere at Roanoke that has allowed me to flourish socially and allowed me to be my true self, which is something I know a lot of us seek to find in college. These girls have kept me grounded academically, encourage me when I am in a rough spot, are always there to put a smile on my face, and push me to be the best individual that I can be. These girls each exemplify what it means to be a best friend. Without this group of girls, I do not believe that my college experience would be as memorable or as influential to my life. Although I will be leaving this group as I graduate college, the ties I have with them will continue to grow strong regardless of the separation we will each experience when we leave.
Another huge component that has kept me grounded at Roanoke is the faculty. I will be graduating with a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Literature Studies. The faculty in each of these departments are some of the most intelligent and empathetic individuals I have ever met. I have had many great professors in each of these departments but the two I would like to thank the most are Dr. Martinez-Carrillo and Dr. Mallavarapu. These professors have been two of the most impressionable and influential individuals I have ever met in my life. They have always been there when I am stuck with academics and have been there to help guide me through rough periods in my life mentally. The knowledge that they hold in their respective fields has led me to have a greater appreciation for our educators and the time they commit to furthering student’s knowledge. I will always remember Dr. Martinez-Carrillo with her positive attitude and smile, lending a helping hand whenever need be, and encouraging me to succeed when I have been down on myself. I will always remember Dr. Mallavarapu who rekindled my love for literature. He opened up the world of literature that I had shut out in high school and allowed the doors to open again, allowing me to use literature to enhance my knowledge on certain academic subjects but to also be used as a form of escapism into another world. I say farewell to these two professors and departments, and I thank them for enhancing my knowledge and for teaching me diligence and kindness in relation to work as well as in life.
My final farewell will be to the tennis team at Roanoke. I would not be at Roanoke College if it weren’t for tennis. Tennis has been a center of my life since I began competitively playing at five years old. The competitive nature that I have has allowed me to excel on the court as well as in the classroom. Tennis has given me structure throughout my life but more specifically in college. If I did not have tennis, I would never have been taught mental toughness. This sport has taught me how to control my emotions and use them to my advantage. I would not be the person that I am today without the coaches and teammates I have had throughout my life, but mostly here at Roanoke College. I would like to thank my coach, Chris Wilkes, who allowed me to rekindle my love for tennis when I was in a serious rut and potentially ready to quit the sport that I was growing to resent playing. Without his reassurance, support, and kindness I would not be who I am today. His emphasis on what it means to be a team player has shaped me into the leader I am today. I would like to say farewell to this team who has become a huge component of my time at Roanoke and will forever been engrained in my memories of college.
I would like to end with a special farewell to the Brackety-Ack. This newspaper has allowed me to enhance my love for writing. I have been given the opportunity to write for both the entertainment and culture/wellness section of our newspaper. I have had the best four years finding stories to write about and being given the opportunity to write in my own creative way, which has been nothing but enjoyable and educational. I thank this newspaper’s staff for furthering my love of writing and free expression.
Farewell Dear Old Roanoke. Thank you for all that you have given me, the memories, the mistakes I made, the people I have met, and for preparing me for a bright future. I don’t know the person I would be without overcoming the obstacles of COVID-19, mental health issues, and academic stress without the help of the Roanoke community. I will never regret anything that has happened throughout my years here and I am forever grateful that I chose Roanoke as my home for these past four years. Farewell Dear Old Roanoke, you were the best decision I ever made.