An image of Monroe, the History building at UMW with the school colors depicting hashtag UMW 17 with 8 days below it

Class of 2017, Graduating in Eight Days

With a mere eight days until I walk across a little stage on Ball Circle to join UMW’s Class of 2017, let me take a moment to thank some non-history major eagles. These fellow Eagles that took pity on me during my years as a mobile library with long conversations and laughter until my sides hurt. Again, I am excited that some of you are coming along with me to grad school, but to the others, I love and will keep in touch with you. For those of you not on this list, I am still thankful for you- eight just isn’t big enough, I know. Our friendships mean the world to me, thank you for making me a better person.

8 Days to Grad: The Most Influential Eagles

Jess DeMers

Jess is the Graduate Assistant for the commuter students and does the work of an entire committee alone while attending grad school to become an ELL teacher. It is easy to say a person is under appreciated, but when you see her doing so much for 47% of UMW’s population and still going the extra mile to make connections, be available, and dream up big plans for the CSA, it’s inspiring. I was a member and leader of the CSA pre-Jess and VP this year. It has been both interesting and exciting to be a part of the growth and change. I look forward to poking in to see what the new officers are accomplishing, but even more so to check up on Jess. She’s funny, easy to talk to, and really taught me that it’s okay to laugh at myself. I hope you get to dust of that Rosetta Stone so we can speak in Spanish together.

Danella Donado

I was so tempted to keep Danella with Kelsey, yesterday. You see, they are a two-for-one package deal, but Danella betrayed us for the English major life. Though that may have been my doing because when she was on the fence she had to watch me go through my thesis struggles. I’m completely gutted to be leaving you behind. Like I told Kelsey, you two are my munchkin buddies. From long talks to little hangouts, never forget that I’m just a text or phone call away. It was great being your UMW Mom and I hope that the pair of you start keeping bandaids and snacks for each other. Prepare for Wednesday hangouts and long cry-emoji texts because the pair of you are stuck with me. You two are going to have the best summer in Spain together and I can’t wait to hear all about it. Just a little aside, I’m so proud of you for being brave enough to befriend such a sleep deprived and eccentric cynic, you rubbed off on me and melted my icebox a little. As you finish up your undergrad never forget the motto of #Hole19, Potatoes Gonna Potate.

Ben Collins

We may say that we’re horrible people and we may make jokes about being human versions of Grumpy Cat, but you’re actually a really nice person. I’m sorry if that ruins your campus cred, but I’m just here to say thank you and speak the truth. Venting is a part of life and keeps a lot of people sane. It wasn’t all we did, there was definitely more laughter than venting if someone was keeping count. Still, I know that I would have been a lot more frustrated with the world if I didn’t have someone to be political with. What will I do without you to add commentary to the realities of LGBT oppression or the outlandish requests of HGTV House Hunters? For some sap, I know you went through a lot this term and it wasn’t the first time you had to deal with the real world derailing your college experience. I’m not going to put your life on blast, but it needs to be said: I am so proud of you. You’re a talented artist and easy to real talk to, that will get you so many places in life… regardless of how judgemental people can be about an arts degree from a liberal university. You’ve got the work ethic and the talent, also a small army of people supporting you, so don’t forget that you are worth more than even you know.

Amani Redic

What were the chances of an English major getting placed into my history practicum, let alone three of us with one teacher? It was a wild ride, but beyond those amazing moments in the best practicum I had, I will cherish the car rides. In the hardest semester with political chaos saturating the dialogue on every aspect of our futures, you gave me something to look forward to every week. Your determination to make the world a better place is admirable. One person at a time, I constantly see you encouraging future teachers and building relationships with people, just like you did with me. You have a knack for finding a way to connect with people and coaxing them out of their shells. This talent will, undoubtedly, help you in a classroom, but maybe you haven’t thought about the ability to lead a movement. Every time you give me a life update I can’t help but think, “This woman is going to change the world.” Seeing you join the SEA only makes me even more proud of you. Thank you for encouraging me to open up, urging me to not become complacent, and reminding me why I chose to pursue teaching. I think we long ago decided we were stuck with each other, so I’ll leave this thank you with a “you’ll be seeing me.”

Willow Carmichael

Every time I see Willow on campus the first and last things we tell each other are that we love each other. Love is Willow’s first, middle, and last name. Saying that word isn’t even something done to be friendly either, saying it all the time doesn’t water it down with her. Willow is so many things, so let me list a few: A giver, a thoughtful speaker, a listener, a genius (no seriously, she is rocking her coursework), a worrier, and a warrior. Few people are so accepting of others, but Willow really is the epitome of a person who opens their arms and collects people. We shared a class together that required a lot of creativity and talking, Willow’s ideas were always some of the best, but she never spoke first. It was actually Amani that really showed me the power of letting people know they did a good job and when I put it into practice it was Willow who always said thank you and was genuinely surprised to hear it. It wasn’t some kind of job or project to me, I just wanted to be a bit more positive, but I was always surprised that she was surprised to have people rooting for her. I’m never going to stop being proud of your hard work and your big heart. You’re going to be a great teacher, Willow, never hesitate to reach out to me if you need a reminder that you are amazing, smart, and loved. While I may be sad to see the day that someone compliments you and you stand up a little straighter and say “Thanks, I know” or “Thanks, I worked really hard to get there,” I know that day is coming because I know that I’m not the only one telling you you’re doing an amazing job in college and will continue to do an amazing job as a teacher.

Leise Crandall

Leise, I owe you pancakes. Dear World, you should get to know Leise. She’s one of those people that has a contagious laugh and talks more in a small group. In our few classes together, when she spoke to the whole class it was one of those “Wow! Why doesn’t she talk more?” moments. I’m not one of those, constantly fumbling with words and poorly executing the point I tried to get across. Writing is definitely easier for me, so maybe I should take a page from your book and be more patient before I speak. Either way, I always admired that quality about you. Like all the best Eagles you’re easy to talk to, but you’re also an attention grabber. Maybe that makes you nervous, that when you do talk we all turn our heads to listen, but over the year I’ve seen you get more confident talking in groups and to classes as a whole. You are yet another COE student that’s going places. You have fantastically creative ideas for your classroom and you’ve helped me understand a lot of concepts in our classes together. I hope we’ll keep in touch because I really want to see those ideas and helpfulness translate to your own students.

Yasmeen Alhinty

Sergio Flores wishes he knew you. Why? You’re beautiful inside and out- and I know that as you read that you’re probably rolling your eyes at me. Always the first person to say hi, to make extra time to talk to people, to ask how someone’s doing, and to sass Ben and I right back. You are one of the funniest people on campus and I’ll miss our chats. Thank you for always waving at me across campus or stopping to talk. Never stop being glamorous and hilarious. Also, don’t expect me to stop texting you saxophone emojis to get Careless Whisper stuck in your head when you least expect it. I’m always free to talk and I hope to see you on campus over my fifth year. I may still be holding out hope that you’ll change your major and join us in the COE.

Weston Boswick

This guy! He is easily one of the most chill people I’ve met. He’s charismatic and smart, but he’s also got a big heart that is, sadly, not going to be in a classroom anymore. I totally get his reasons and he’s going to do amazing things, but as we talked about it, you really taught me how to take change with grace. We were both in this weird limbo of whether we could finish our courses in time to stay in the COE, you looked at your options and you made the best decision for your future. More than that, it wasn’t quitting it was just adulting. I know you’re going to do great things and I’m not sure when or where our paths will cross again, but I’m glad that they did. Thank you for always stopping to catch up when we did see each other on campus and whether you end up being a Jedi master of GIS or in a classroom, let me know.

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