A Hudson Valley Graduate Says Goodbye to College

An Ithaca College senior from Millbrook reflects on the sudden end of an era.

Senior year was the best. It sounds clichéd, but it’s true. It was a time when I finally felt like I knew who I was and what I wanted. I had spent three years learning my craft. Three years meeting friends that would last a lifetime. Three years making Ithaca my home away from home. I entered the year hesitant to face May 17, but excited to experience each day leading up to it.

Saying goodbye is something we had all been prepping for. We knew this time would inevitably come to a bittersweet end, and we were trying our best to cope with that reality. My friends and I lived like we were freshmen again, exploring our cute college town. We made a bucket list of all the places we’d been meaning to go to, and revisited the ones that we loved so much. We never said no to a plan and we tried to pack as much as we could into each day. We really had it good.

No matter what stage of life you are in, you’re missing important milestones during this time. Weddings, dance recitals, movie premiers, driver’s tests, birthdays. Everyone everywhere has missed out on something. The hardest part for seniors is the fact that our milestone can’t be postponed and reimagined for 2021. Our lives here are not something that we can return to and pick up right where we left off once the world can breathe a bit. Sure, there are alumni weekends and the vacations you’ll plan with your friends. But there isn’t a chance to relive those times where you pass someone in the hall and stop to chat with them for 20 minutes just because you can. When this storm passes, our lives will return to familiar times, but the class of 2020 will be off on their own.

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We were already entering into a time of complete uncertainty. Many of us didn’t know where our first job would take us, or what we even really wanted to do. This uncertainty was not the kind we were bracing for though, which makes it a little extra scary. We especially can’t predict where our paths will take us given the circumstances, but I do know one thing for sure — we will be connected for much longer than these short four years. This has made the class of 2020 stronger. Sure, it broke us down a bit at first. But now we are stronger than before, in it together to savor the sweet memories and unbreakable bonds that Ithaca College has given us. Whether or not my time ended as planned or ended in this pandemic, it was going to be a tough and teary goodbye. This is for sure a weird way to go, and although there won’t be a traditional farewell, I know I’ve made my mark on Ithaca and it’s made its mark on me.

Sierra Guardiola graduated from Ithaca College in May. She interned with Hudson Valley in summer 2018. She is a graduate of Millbrook High School and hopes to pursue a career in magazine editing. 

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