Countdown to Graduation: 6 Days
“And I miss the way you make me feel, and it’s real / We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill”
My Dearest Quenyans,
Thank you to my dearest Quenyans for bringing back the life in me that I thought I lost when I drowned myself in becoming a workaholic. You’ve made my fourth year – my final year – at UCI the most worthwhile experience. Quenya is an exception to everything in Middle Earth; it’s a challenge, and the best I could ever ask for.
It is no secret that I was afraid that this time will come where we move on and live the next chapter of our lives. Well I always knew that there would come a day when our adventures together would be over, but it’s no denying that I was never fully prepared for this moment.
Just a little less than 10 months ago, I received a roster with all of your names on it and that excited me. I did not know who you were, I just knew you would be mine. My own residents, my own kids. My Quenyans.
Fast forward to move-in day on September 17, where I first met most of you. On this day, I saw many of your faces and you learned about me. We had our first hall meeting where you sat through two hours of me talking and where I got my first picture with many of you.
Soon after, we took our hall photo, stayed up till five in the morning almost every night of welcome week, got upset with me over not telling you when the fire drill would be, came to watch me be a cheerleader at battle of the fellowships, toured you around the school to help you find your classes, and watch you all go to your first day of class.
Fall quarter started out great, but like all good things, there has to be a balance. Then came the first time that I was upset over the posted that I asked not to be vandalized. It was a moment that I didn’t prepare for emotionally – to be upset with my residents. But somehow I was reminded how lucky I was when I was surprised with the new poster.
Even though it took some stalking (because I wouldn’t let you know), many of you figured out when my birthday was. Even though I was significantly late and showed up not the most sober person, you all were patient and I came home to a surprise that got many other RAs jealous. Truly one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.
And all throughout fall quarter I learned more about each one of you as you all tried to learn more about me.
Winter break came around and I was at the peak of withdrawals from you all. I missed you every day of the four weeks that I was away from you and didn’t see you on a daily basis. But at least I was not sleepless.
So winter quarter begins. Just as I expected more people were in their rooms and less in the common spaces. But one on ones allowed me to get more in depth with many of you. This is also the same quarter that caused a lot of facilities related stress on me and on the operations staff. Many facilities related issues got out of hand and many of you needed to learn to take responsibility and what holding each other accountable meant.
In the same timeframe, I first doubted my capabilities and my worth to not only be an RA, but to be in my future profession working in Housing or Residence Life. Because of all the things that happened, I thought I wasn’t good enough, I thought I wasn’t qualified enough, I thought I didn’t try hard enough, and I thought I didn’t belong in ResLife. Then I had people who reminded me that I belong here, that this is something I’ve wanted since I started college, and that I do what I can to the best of my abilities for my residents.
The end of winter quarter came. It was finals week. I was offered a job position at UCLA after I graduate and I reserved graduation tickets the next day. This made everything real for me. I started getting sentimental and realizing even more than in just a few months I would be leaving as the rest of you continue your college career. I knew I was ready to start the new chapter, but I wasn’t ready for my heart to leave the kids that I have watched grow in such a short amount of time.
And so spring break begins. I’m getting more sleep but at the same time having difficulty falling asleep as I think about the last quarter that lies ahead. I’m having difficulty planning out spring quarter because I know it means it’s going to be over soon.
Spring Quarter was the one that tested my limits and what it would take for me to break. The quarter started out well and the chances to bond with many of you continued — maybe because it was approaching the end of the year. However, as they say: “All good things must come to an end.”
I didn’t think that the way that those “good things” would end is by testing me in the worst possible way it felt like I could be tested: a test of my Integrity against a test of my Loyalty — two of the most important values I hold dear to me. It spiraled me downhill more than I have ever felt taken down before. For the first time in a long time, I broke. I broke in many ways I never would have thought I could break. I made a mess out of the situation, and even worse, I got many people that didn’t need to be involved… well, involved. I lost many things in this downhill breaking point. There’s a lot of things I have done wrong and this was a time where I did one, and for that I am sorry.
Thankfully, things don’t stay low forever. The wheels turn and you don’t stay at the bottom. Things slowly began to be fixed and I found myself smiling alongside the residents I have always bragged about loving; the residents I will always be proud to call my kids.
And so with the end coming so close I want to leave with each and every one of you always being reminded that the care, the compassion, the dedication, the excitement, the gratitude, the love, and the passion I have towards being your RA will never go away. Whether I am a few steps away from you or miles and miles and miles away, count that you can always come to me when you need a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen, and someone who will remind you just how special you are in every way.
It saddens me that I won’t get to watch you grow the way I have been able to these past nine months. But I also know that whatever you do in the next two, three, or maybe four years, that I will be proud of what you accomplish and proud to see you the person you become as your chapter comes to an end.
You are the very reason that my fourth year is the best year of my college career. You gave me a reason to continue when I felt like I couldn’t. You reminded me just why I love working in residence life.
No matter where you go or no matter where I go, remember that I’m always cheering you on even though you can’t see me. I will always be proud to have been your friend, your sister, your mom, your resident advisor.
Go out there and change the world, the way I always believe you will. But please remember to tell me about it when you do.
With all my love,