Five years ago, I embarked on a journey that I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish. The night before I was scheduled to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language, I almost talked myself out of it. I struggled with the idea of committing half a decade to an institution 6,000 miles away from my home in Moldova. But somehow, I found the nerve to go into this unexplored territory. Today, reflecting back on the hundreds of times I have wanted to quit, the dozens of homework assignments that made no sense, the exams that felt impossible to pass and the longest days spent missing home and family, I would still not trade this life experience for anything else. It is by far one of the most important decision I have made in my life.
On May 6, this life-changing experience will come to an end for me and many of my friends. The years of hard work and dedication will become a memory and “real life,” as my father likes to remind me, will then start. I would have finally gained an education, the one thing that no one would ever be able to take away from me according to my mother. It is going to be a defining moment for sure but I can’t help but wonder: What if I am going to miss being a college student? What if, a month after I get to experience life with no homework I start getting bored? What is next? Oh well, maybe I should wait to graduate first and then start making post-graduation plans.
I reached out to Madison Clark, a former AUM student who graduated last semester with a Bachelor in History. “Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned during my time at AUM was understanding I had the potential to accomplish greatness,” Clark said. “AUM taught me that having the right ambition and drive will lead to success.” Clark is now pursuing a dual Master’s in History and Applied Women’s Studies at Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California. “My experience at AUM greatly prepared me for the rigorous challenges I now face,” Clark continues. “Living life across the country in an entirely new environment and culture can be intimidating. But thanks to the diverse perspectives I gained from the AUM faculty, I continue to feel confident in presenting my research and ideas to my new peers.”
Ultimately, our roles in the society are going to differ from one another but, for a moment as we take this giant leap, we’re all just going to be graduates experiencing a common encounter. We will acquire a new identity the moment we hold the degree in our hands. We will gain a new sense of individuality and self-worth and, for a moment we will feel as if we’re ready to be released out into the world.
By Dasa Rosca