The Last Chapter

Christina Xan, Staff Writer

When I think about the person I was in high school before coming to FMU, I don’t even really recognize her. I think the people who have met me throughout my college years would be very surprised to meet that girl. I don’t think they would recognize her either. She was shy and scared and quiet. She wanted to fly under the radar and never be seen or heard. Most people laugh when I tell them this because I’m so vastly different today.

In my first year or so at FMU, I was still the person I was in high school. I sat in the back of classes, never talked and didn’t want to be noticed. I also suffered from extreme social anxiety that had convinced me in the spring of my freshman year to transfer to an online school where I wouldn’t even have to leave my house. I had already filled out the paperwork and attended the orientations. Oddly enough, one thing kept me at FMU: my English classes.

The fall of that year, I was in Dr. Kunka’s English 200 class, which was definitely the turning point for me. I’m still so thankful to Dr. K for seeing something in me that semester. She reassured me that I was on the right path and that I was actually a good English major, something I had doubted since I started at FMU. She hired me at the Writing Center (WC) the following semester, which has genuinely been the best experience of my time at FMU. Being a tutor and being able to help other students understand what I love to do is something I would never trade.

Having that job gave me the confidence to take part in other jobs and organizations too, something I had been too scared to consider before. A friend asked me if I wanted to be a photographer for the student newspaper, which rekindled my love for photography and gave me the confidence to start up my freelance photography business.

I’ve also had the opportunity to be an assistant for several professors, who have all taught me different essential life skills for a career in English. I’ve also been able to serve as the vice president for Sigma Tau Delta and the social media manager for the Gay Straight Alliance, where I’ve been able to see hard work and changes I’ve made actually make a difference on our campus and in our community.

But in the end, I’ll always come back to my English classes. I wish I could thank each and every English professor I’ve had who all have affected me in a positive way, but I only have 650 words, so blanket statements will have to suffice.

Thank you all for always making my English classes a positive experience where I’ve been able to learn what I love but also have fun. Thank you for always assuring me that I’m on the right track, that I’m a good researcher, writer and poet. I’ve always lacked confidence and never thought my work was good, but you all have been able to provide that confidence for me when I didn’t have it. Thank you for always having open doors. Whether I’ve needed to talk for class, needed advice or just wanted a laugh, someone has always been there. I’ve grown to care for all of you as more than just teachers but as friends.

When I walk down the halls of the English department, I feel like I’m home. I imagine everyone feels the same about their respective departments, but I’ll always feel like there’s something a bit special about ours. This is the place I discovered myself, who I wanted to be in the present and what I wanted to be in the future, and I’m going to miss it dearly.

When I think about the fact that this is my last semester and that I’ll no longer be submitting Writing Center schedules or class registrations and instead be accepting a degree, it makes me excited but also sad. These have been the best years for me – they truly have – and one day when I’m standing in front of my college classes, I’ll think of this place with the fondest memories.

So for everyone who has helped me along the way, for my friends who have always been strong support systems, for my professors who have always been there for me and for the school that shaped me into the person I am today, thank you and farewell. I wish each and every one of you the very best.