2018 Senior Reflections: What I’ll Carry With Me

Ayushi Agarwal, Photo Editor

What I’ll Carry With Me

By Grace Cleland

On May 14, the class of 2018 will cross campus for the final time as Emory students, reaching the finality of our college careers and facing the increasingly daunting “real world” beyond the meaningful lives we have created for ourselves here at Emory.

On May 14, we may return once again to the feelings we felt in August of 2014, when we pulled up to our first-year halls for move-in day, our suitcases and Emory T-shirt-clad parents in tow. Nervous, excited and impatient for this season of life to begin, we were ready, just as we are now.

On May 14, we toss our caps and turn our backs on the world of dining dollars, communal bathrooms and our beloved skeletal mascot, and promise ourselves that we won’t miss this world of corporate finance exams and long lines at Cox Hall that much. But truth be told, I will.

I am humbled to have given four wonderful years to Emory, and in so doing, I have given parts of myself to friends, to classes and to organizations. Yet more important to me in this period of ending is what I am grateful to take with me as a product of this university.

I am excited to carry with me relationships with impressive and empowering friends who through explorations of this campus, this city and ourselves have taught me meaningful lessons: some hilarious, some painful and some long overdue. Leading by example, it is the people I have met at Emory — roommates in dorms and my first apartment, professors in classes I loved and hated, classmates in countless group projects and everyone in between — that have taught me far more than any class could.

I will carry with me a sense of humility, for the times my experiences at Emory have rightfully knocked me down a peg or two, and for the (many) times I have been unsuccessful in my classes, been challenged in my organizations and been wrong … about a lot. Yet I will also carry with me a sense of assurance for the times this place has built me back up. This transformative community inspired me to pursue positive change in community at Emory and in business leadership at the Goizueta Business School, though I started out a nervous first-year student with a habit of indecision and a resume in Comic Sans (seriously).

Finally, I will carry with me an appreciation for the journey. Never one to take my time, I’ve moved at a sprinter’s pace since I arrived at Emory, always rushing to the next activity and wondering what the next day will bring. It is these final months of college that have instilled in me a calming ability to “enjoy the moment.”

On May 14, the class of 2018 will cross the Quadrangle for the first time as proud and prepared alumni. And on that day, I hope we turn to Emory with gratitude for all that we can carry with us.

Grace Cleland is from Oakton, Va., and served as the 2017-2018 BBA Council president. She will remain in Atlanta after graduation as a business analyst at Deloitte Consulting.