A Goodbye to Dear FMU

Rachel Kirkland, Staff Writer

I spent almost the entire night of my college orientation crying.

Allow me to set the context for you. As long as I had been alive, at the time of my coming to FMU, my college career would be the first time I had stayed somewhere other than home. Sure, I had stayed over at friend’s houses a handful of miles away, but nothing permanent. I was a homebody—a Mommy-and-Daddy’s girl. The farthest I had ever been from South Carolina was Florida on a family trip to Disney World. I was terrified of driving. The interstate was likely one of the most horrifying monsters I had ever encountered in my life. In short—I was something of a nervous teenager.

My parents and my home had been my security, and suddenly I was leaving it. My parents weren’t going to be down the hall and around the corner anymore. They were an hour and a half away. There was no magical fridge that refilled itself. As I had yet to conquer my fear of driving, I wouldn’t bring my car with me for my first semester, and thus would have no immediate way to get around. It was a complete uprooting.

If I’m to be honest, one of my worst qualities is my complete lack of selfconfidence. That night, as I lay curled up in a tiny sodden ball in the dorm bed, I had entirely convinced myself that the next year of my life was going to be a nightmare. I wasn’t going to make it—I simply didn’t have what it takes to make it on my own. I was a dependent, and I would always be a dependent. I would ruin my GPA the first semester, lose my scholarship and then get kicked out before I could even really start to progress.

Imagine my surprise four years later when I’m set to graduate on time, Cum Laude.

When I think back on my college career, I suppose there were a few things I wish I would have done. Perhaps gone to a game, join another club or two, frequent more of the events on campus— to name a few. But I don’t think there’s anything over the course of the four years that I’ve gone to this school that I can say I actually regretted. Sure, there were a few less-than-stellar teachers. There was a class that I found grating here and there. There was stress—mostly selfinflicted by way of my poor timing and organizational skills—that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning.

But beyond that, there was experience. There were new friends. There were intelligent and committed professors. There were opportunities that I never would have realized were open to me. There were achievements that I never would have considered myself able to meet. I honestly believe that going to FMU has set me up to face the rest of my life.

I suppose all that’s left for me to really do before I graduate is to let you know how thankful I am. I wish I had enough room to individually name everyone, but that alone would be its own article. Thank you to my friends for sticking with me and keeping me strong. Thank you to my professors for teaching me and believing in me. Thank you to The Patriot for giving me the opportunity to practice, hone and share my hobby. Thank you to Mitchell for keeping me grounded and moving forward. Thank you to my parents for more things than I can list.