Senior farewell from a future public affairs officer

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Senior farewell from a future public affairs officer

By Natasha Mosquera, Staff Writer

After four years, I still remember the excitement that filled my heart when I received my letter of acceptance to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I, among many other applicants, felt blessed with the opportunity to attend such a prestigious and renowned University.

Still skeptical about what career I wanted to pursue, but not wanting to go in undecided, I declared broadcast journalism as my major. This choice came after hours and hours of research before I finally realized that math and science were not my forte, and that I was much better at writing my thoughts down on paper.

As the years progressed, I had some doubts about my major. Luckily, I also had several epiphanies that made it clear to me that I made the right choice.

A lot of my experiences came from class projects, because they forced me to go out into the real world and find people to talk to. They took the time out of their day to talk to me — a student — and they trusted me to tell their story fully and accurately.

Being given the opportunity to share someone’s story is a beautiful thing and it is the reason why I grow fonder of journalism every day. Though I didn’t officially join until this year, much of my love for journalism has also stemmed from writing for The Daily Illini. It truly taught me to step outside of my comfort zone.

I not only have the College of Media to thank for my success, but also my three advisers, and all of the teachers that have shared their knowledge with me in some way, shape or form.

While my academic experiences have indeed made my college career fruitful, it’s everything else in between that has helped tie it all together.

I had the distinct honor and privilege to have been a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps throughout my time here, and it may very well be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Despite the early wake-ups for physical training every Monday and Wednesday, and missing the Homecoming parade every year because AFROTC was marching in it — I wouldn’t change a thing.

If all goes well, my future as an Air Force public affairs officer is set. It’s a remarkable feeling to look back and see how one thing led to another, and now here I am. I have made so many great friends through this program, two of whom I currently share an apartment with — something I did not foresee freshman year.

People who were once strangers now know almost everything about me. Out of the 40,000+ students on this campus, I came across the most amazing people that changed my life for the better and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t mean something.

I’d like to thank the Study Abroad Office for helping me every step of the way as I prepared to study at the University of Manchester during my second semester of my junior year.

My time overseas has left a profound impact on me, and there will never be enough words to describe how grateful I am to have been given that amazing opportunity. The world is a big, big place and there is so much to see and do. What better time to go out and explore it than as a college student?

While I was sad to leave campus, it isn’t going anywhere. I know that I will always be welcomed back with open arms.

Lastly, I owe all of my success to my parents and sister for their never-ending support and encouragement over the years. It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, I will be a University of Illinois graduate.

I remember my freshman year like it was yesterday. As much as I wish I could go back and have gone to that one sporting event, or to that one party, or have talked to that one cute guy in class; every moment, every decision has led me to where I’m at now, and I’m happy.

I was fortunate enough to live out the truth behind, “college is/will be the best four years of your life,” because where else can you study, go out any day of the week — with some of the best people — and still develop yourself as a professional?

There are still many things that I need to check off my UIUC bucket list, but if I graduated tomorrow, I know for a fact that I would walk across that stage with a joyful heart.

As much as I hate to say and think about it, my time here is quickly coming to an end, but it surely has been one heck of a run and I do not plan on looking back. Once an Illini, always an Illini.

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