I just walked out of my last regular class at Syracuse University before I take two finals, finish two papers and get out of here. It’s been an amazing journey. As I leave for grad school at Baton Rouge, I can’t help but reflect on all of the good (and bad) times I’ve had, and how much I have changed as a person since I first arrived here nearly five years ago.

When I came to Syracuse, I thought global warming was a myth. Now I am working to recieve my master’s in climatology.

When I came to Syracuse, I ate a steak several times a week, eggs and sausage every day for breakfast… now I’m a vegetarian, attempting to go vegan (darn cheese!)

When I came to Syracuse, I said I was never getting married, never having kids and never letting anyone “tie me down.” Now, my son is my strength and is the reason I do everything that I do — for his future.

When I came to Syracuse, I wanted to be a screenwriter. Now I am a scientist, a journalist and an avid intellectual.

When I came to Syracuse, I said I was NEVER going back to the South. Now, I’m running back as fast as I can.

When I came to Syracuse, I was lost and did not know my place in the world. While I learn every day that I have less answers than I did the day before, I know where I want to be and what I want to do. In a way, I always knew. I had to learn to believe in myself to do it first.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me these last few years.