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- Garrett Davies
The past four years have been an absolute whirlwind. I've learned about myself and the world through crazy opportunities that I am so lucky to have had. The personal growth I've had is no less than amazing, and it's been off the backs of many incredible people I have had the privilege to meet.
Starting with crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time during Preview to Ireland, I was able to get an experience of culture from a place outside of my home. That's what I wanted college to be about: learning more about the world and my place within it. I want to give a shoutout to Tim Barton for giving me possibly the most memorable and amazing experience of my life in Dublin.
Living abroad in London, I was able to support myself and learn my way around a country I've never been to. Being a commuter, this was the first time I lived for an extended period away from my family, which gave me such a huge confidence boost. In order to support myself financially, I had to save up through a part-time "real-world" internship while taking classes full time, but I was still able to flourish socially. Obviously, I had the support of Arcadia through housing and other benefits, but it felt like I was able to do well for myself when I was unsure how life would be when I moved out.
Orientation was probably the most impactful and important thing I put myself through during my time at Arcadia. I dedicated three years to the program and served on the executive board for my final year. I don't regret a single moment of it. I probably gained most of my marketable work skills from my time spent with Orientation, and I was able to meet some of my closest friends. I also learned how much I love working with students as a mentor. I joined on a whim after a recommendation from my Orientation Leader, never expecting the return I would get for it. Another big shout-out to A.J for pushing me to be an OL and to the staff who made the experience so wonderful.
As I'm writing this, I feel like I'm saying goodbye, and that's really tough. Closing the door on this chapter has an oddness to it that I never felt after finishing high school. I guess that's because college doesn't feel finished, or at least wrapped up in the way I hoped. The pandemic has a lot to do with that, and I know I'm not alone. We more or less had our final year of university taken away from us, and there's no way to sugarcoat it: That really sucks. I'm sure that the first-years felt similar when their high school experience came to an abrupt end.
As usual, I'll leave you all with one takeaway (and this one might be the most important): Take hold of every single chance you are given. You never know when something can be absolutely life-changing, and they won't always come around a second time. I was told that college moves in the blink of an eye and I never believed it—but, well, now I'm here, and it's finished. All things said, I'm extremely excited to be opening the next chapter of my life and all the new opportunities that will present themselves.