Letter from the Editor: Circuit 11 Graduation Issue
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The morning I left for college is still a vivid memory to me. I woke up at 5 a.m. to catch my flight and hurriedly said goodbye to my mother, upset that she wasn’t able to come to the airport to drop me off. Yet, despite how clear this memory is to me today, it’s almost surreal how different I’ve become in a short four-year time period.
Now, as I prepare to say goodbye to Whitman, I reluctantly leave the community that has defined me and that I’ve come to love enough to call home.
I traveled nearly 596 miles to attend Whitman, but in some sense, this number doesn’t sum up exactly how much distance and growth I’ve gained at Whitman, as I suspect is also the case with many of my peers. My predecessors on The Pioneer, who created such large footprints to fill, have written about how much The Pioneer has profoundly impacted their Whitman experience, and as I sit here today, I can definitively say in agreement that who I am today is largely a result of my time here.
For The Pioneer, I’ve interviewed Whitman students, professors, staff and Walla Walla community members with diverse backgrounds and ample knowledge to share. Each of these interviews is a lesson in itself and I’m humbled to have heard and interpreted these stories for the past several years. At the same time, I’ve been privileged to work with staff members who have made staying up until 3 a.m. on Wednesday production nights thrilling and who have given me greater confidence in my writing and leadership abilities.
Though Whitman is well-known for its academics and classroom experiences, some of my most memorable moments of growth have occurred outside of the classroom. Valuable memories of talking to professors in office hours about the definition of cultural capital, baking my first apple pie with homemade dough surrounded by friends and counting stars in the middle of Ankeny Field with my first-year section all mark a period of maturity for me. Although I’m almost certain that I’ll never become a professional journalist, a baker or even a professor, these moments in time have all been an essential part of my journey to adulthood.
As I prepare to enter post-graduate life, a full-time job and the possibility of graduate school, I take with me the creativity and confidence that I’ve developed at Whitman. Who I am today would not have been the same without the home I’ve found for myself at the paper and within the larger Whitman and Walla Walla communities.
In just a few days, my fellow seniors and I will officially no longer be associated with the college as students. Instead, we graduate into an entirely different league: alumni. We’ll be pressured to define success in different ways, whether that be in terms of how much we have in our bank accounts or how well networked we are. For me, though, I already feel like I’m entering this mysterious arena with a large reserve of success. For success is in the journey of growth, and each and every one of us has certainly grown in some way or another at Whitman. It has been an honor and privilege to have matured in this community and to have called my fellow Whitties family. Thank you.