As an Undergraduate Admission Intern, I give daily presentations to countless families each week on the university and answer any questions that a prospective student or their family might have. I’ve become quick on my feet and now know a whole lot about Saint Joe’s. The more I learn, the more grateful I become to attend this university. We are now approaching the last weeks of my senior year and I was asked to write a blog post (yes, this blog post) about what I have learned over the last four years of my life (Cue: Spongebob “What I’ve Learned In Boating School” scene). These last four years at Saint Joe’s has taught me a lot, both about myself and about the world around me. To which you are all probably thinking, well, I sure hope so! But please let me explain myself because while “a lot” is truly what I have learned, I want to take this opportunity to tell you exactly what it is that I’ve learned in my time as a student at SJU.

Move-in day was not easy for the person I was at eighteen years old. There were people on my floor literally pushing their parents out the door after their tapestries were hung and their mini refrigerators were full. And then there was me. I was the girl in Villager 637, asking her parents to stay for “just five more minutes!”

Four years and forty credits later, on May 18th, I will graduate from Saint Joe’s and move on to my next chapter. I leave this institution with an incredibly strong sense of self. I have learned exactly what it means to be a person with and for others and I am confident in my own ability to be that person. I have learned to open my heart and my mind to new ideas and opportunities. With this, I have learned that what happens inside the classroom is important, but what I do with that knowledge once I leave the classroom is even more important. I have learned the value of being my most authentic self and allowing myself to be surrounded by those who accept and embrace me as I am.

While I leave Saint Joe’s feeling ready and excited to take on the “real world,” I also leave with a heavy heart. Over the last four years, I have created a true home away from home and saying goodbye certainly will not be easy. My a cappella group, my internship, my major, my friends, my professors, my roommates, my Saxby’s cold brew: all things that make graduation day feel a little more difficult to face. But with that, I think about how fortunate I am to have crossed paths with these people and this place and I remember that the choice to be a Hawk is a lifelong commitment. And it is because of the choice I made four years ago that I am where I am today.

I am now the girl moving out of her off-campus house, who will be asking her parents if she can stay here for “just five more minutes!” Today, I am strong. And not only am I strong but I also believe in my strength, and it’s this institution that has allowed me to grow and flourish into this person. While I don’t yet have it all figured out, SJU is the reason I can fearlessly step into the rest of my life knowing that I can handle whatever it is that comes my way. I am ready to go forth and set this world on fire.

Madelena Michowski, ’19