An image of Monroe, the History building at UMW with the school colors depicting hashtag UMW 17 with 9 days below it

Class of 2017, Graduating in Nine Days

I am continuing this little blogging series as the UMW’s Class of 2017 is now in the single digits to graduation with a thank you to nine of my fellow Eagles that have survived the History/American Studies life with me. I am excited that some of you are coming along with me to grad school and that we will be embarking on a final year of glorious chaos together. Some of you are just younglings that I love and will keep in touch with. For those of you not on this list, however, I am still thankful for you- nine is just my lucky number. My success at UMW (and oftentimes my sanity) was completely reliant on all of our friendships.

9 Days to Grad: The Most Influential History Majors

Courtney Squires

Courtney and I could have been friends before I came to UMW. We run with the same group of extremely close friends. The irony of walking into my first college class knowing her as “the girl Del says I would be best friends with” and sitting next to each other on that first day is not lost on me. If ever there was an underappreciated person on campus it is Courtney. Her work ethic surpasses anyone else’s and despite everything she does out in the “real world” she prioritizes her friendships like there’s 30 hours in a day and 9 days in a week. This magical balance is one I have yet to master and a possibly a silly thing to admire someone for, but I do because she has put 110% into our friendship and never complains about my inability to show up to everything. Courtney is, unsurprisingly, one of my best friends so let me highlight some of her mad skills. Diversity! This woman speaks multiple languages, crosses musical appreciation borders, and will terrify you with her Uno competitiveness. Underneath all her layers is someone who will be an amazing elementary school teacher, that holds hands through panic attacks and listens to people as they cry over things that probably don’t matter to the rest of the world. She’s a listener 80% of the time and a clown the other 20%. Maybe you missed your chance to get to know her, she’s not into Facebook and the commuter life keeps her off campus, but if you know her then you know what I mean. She’s smart, witty, and caring beyond belief. I can’t wait to scream something embarrassing like “Mirala! Mi reina de historia!” as you walk across the stage.

Kelly Haynes

Kelly, Courtney, and I met all together and the three of us followed each other through a few history classes like the three musketeers. Courtney kept us on task, I did 90% of the in-class talking, and Kelly blessed us with Disney and treats. Like all the best people I’ve met at UMW, Kelly has a big heart. She does a lot in school with clubs that do community service and I have always been impressed with her ability to serve others and balance school. Whether we’re fangirling about hockey or just texting at two in the morning while we drown in history assignments, Kelly has always been supportive, hilarious, and everything a person needs in a friend. She’s sadly moving on to the real world without us, but I know that she’s going to keep on doing great things because she doesn’t quit and people love her. Thank you for always listening to me, Kelly, and I can’t wait for our museum adventures.

Madison Scovell

If you’ve made it this far and don’t know Madison then you’re missing out. You are missing out on an intelligent conversation, political passion, and the perfect balance of sass and smiles. She’s got this contagious laugh that is going to be perfect in a classroom. She has a way of instantly making you feel comfortable. I know for a fact she can stick it through anything because she survived hours in a car with me, talking and singing horribly off key. I may not be in her inner circle of friends and we may have only known each other for a couple of years, but I adore her and look forward to watching her become an amazing teacher… maybe even dragging her up to a caps game. There’s not enough of us! Ps. I’m so proud of you for doing your thesis with all the other things you had going on. The world was full of distractions and you still rocked it.

Courtney Burrows

Courtney is someone I’ve only had the pleasure of having one class with. We were in a group together working on immigration project- her, Courtney Squires, Kelly, and I. We were all in a full load of classes, doing our theses, and busy with jobs and extracurriculars. I selfishly think our project still turned out better than everyone else’s. I honestly look at her work ethic and I am constantly impressed. She works hard and plays hard. She’s informed and obviously driven to make an impact in the public education system. It’s a passion I share and I’m excited to see where it takes her. Courtney’s a fantastic public speaker and the SEA is better for having her. Thank you for inspiring the COE younglings to be aware of the diversity they will experience in a real classroom. They’ll be better teachers for it.

Cody Nester

Cody and I have had some overlapping friend groups but it wasn’t until this term that we ever really had a conversation. That’s probably my own doing and I’m a lesser person for it. He’s a great guy, funny and soft-spoken. It seems that most of the men in the COE go through the same content area as me (history), so it has been extremely interesting to see how he is approach teaching. We definitely have some very different ways of approaching content and Cody has had nothing but nice things to say to me about my ideas and he’s taught me a lot about constructive criticism and smiling when you talk. I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other as we go on to grad school and I promise to do a better job at getting to know you.

Kristin O’Connell

Listen, Kristin is just a light. Period. I’m almost proud of the fact that I have this one non-smiling picture of her. Note, she was just being silly, not actually sad. Kristin has the biggest smile all the time and it just makes your day better. I mean it, you’ll be bored and scroll through social media, then wham there this big smile is. It’s no surprise she has cheerleaders, literally- and can I just say that Libby is the perfectly adorable counterpart to a perky friendship duo. I love it! I have been through a lot since meeting Kristin and I really can say that she puts life into perspective. There’s no doubt that I can be cynical and lose my way and she’s there with that smile and a silly dance to change your day. Maybe you didn’t mean to do it, maybe you didn’t even notice you have a fan club but you do. As I say, it takes a person with an extra big heart and a heck of a lot of patience to work with younger kids, let alone students with disabilities. I’m not surprised you’re doing both. Ps. Thank you for shining a light on mental health with your epic thesis. You go!

Shannon Keene

Shannon is a Hufflepuff. I really could just leave it at that and you should know how amazing she is, but I’m sure there’s a Huffle hater or two out there. We are hard-working, friendly, loyal, honest, impartial, patient, and unafraid of toil – that last bit is a direct quote, take it or leave it Gryffindors! Shannon is all of the above and then some. This amazing woman was so busy on campus, leading group work in her class activities, and still throwing down one of the best projects our class had. She commands a room, even if she doesn’t think she does, and she does it all while being an adorable and sweet human being. Thank you for putting up with the direct obnoxiousness of my hatred of squeaky tables three times a week for fifteen weeks straight and also for taking the time to get to know me a little in this senior year chaos. I’m going to keep you, mmkay? Thanks.

Kelsey Phillips

I don’t want to leave you behind! So I’m not, you’re stuck with me. Sorry, not sorry. Kelsey is one of the many history majors that aren’t in my year but are in the COE. Goodness, I have been so lucky to have you in my classes and one text away. You have survived some harder coursework than I’ve had to do and all while dealing with my memes and sarcasm. I am happy to be your “UMW Mom” with bandaids and snacks at the ready, your procrastinating enabler, and co-friend/cheerleader at #Hole19. I wish you were graduating with me, probably as much as you wish you’d bailed on History for English with Danella. Just know I’m not far from campus and I’m always going to be there for you, cheering you on like some kind of crazed soccer mom. I know that next year will be crazy, thesis life is no life at all. Just know that I’ve been there and it’s okay to cry at me. You’re going to make it. If I manage to tell you I’m proud of you 1/2 the times you’ve told me you’re proud of me, then I think I you’ll get the hint. You can do this! Who knows, maybe one day our trio will be united in a public school.

Emily James

As I put my foot down after the election and said, “No, I won’t be the poster child of x, y, z.” I was unfriended by people that didn’t want me in their life. Emily wasn’t one of them. I then took steps to remove the toxicity of people that didn’t want facts in their lives from my social media (which I already wasn’t using that much anyways). Again, Emily wasn’t one of them. All I wanted in a post-Obama presidency was the ability to have civil discourse and 9/10 social media is just a toxic place where that doesn’t happen. Emily has always been approachable, a walking hug if I may. She sent me a message worried that we may have been on different sides of the isle and wanted to make sure that our friendship was okay and to let me know that she was in no way judging me for my difference of opinions. This level of maturity and concern is sadly so rare in the world today. I know that she’s going to go places, I may have voted for her and told people to vote for her so that she could- I’m a shameless cheerleader, okay? It was great to be your teammate in Intro. What was even better is that I’ve been on the sidelines watching you succeed ever since. You’re going to be a great teacher because you’re always willing to be the first person to reach out. Never change.

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