When Everything is Finished, That Will Be the Beginning | Cassandra Figueroa’s Senior Goodbye

Monmouth has been the best four years of my life thus far. These years have been scary, demanding, thrilling, and stimulating, all at the same damn time.

That’s what makes it so great. Everyday is something new. If it’s not new friends, it’s a new class everyday, if it’s not a new residence hall, it’s a new, enthusiastic professor.

Monday, the work day, the “I need coffee” day, the “let’s go to the DH” day, is completely different in comparison to Friday, the “let’s go out” day, the “wanna go to the beach” day, the “homework can wait” day. Everyday of the week is priceless in college, which is why I’ll miss it so much.

I look back on my career here and appreciate those long hours in the library; it was relaxing knowing that my only worry was a test, and that in a few moments a friend would most likely walk over to me to catch up. I’m going to miss the days when I have to sit through long AOII chapter meetings, making faces at my sisters and learning about all

the beautiful things they’ve implemented while on campus.

I’m going to miss late nights managing at the Hawks Den for Residential Life, having friends stop in, having time to do my homework, making jokes with one of the most inspiring and influential bosses I’ve ever had. I’ll miss New Student Orientation, probably the best summers of my life, and I’ll miss Guatemala meetings, and nights at Jack’s, and sitting in class, listening to my professors talk about all the things they are passionate about.

And I’ll miss The Outlook.

Alyssa, you are someone who will be hard to forget. Your fiery, bubbly personality is contagious. I love being around you, I wouldn’t mind being on another 6 hour plane ride with you or staying up all night at The Outlook, talking and not doing our homework.

Angela, you have always pushed me. My biggest critic, a motivation. You are an immaculate editor.

Bri, my girl. My online smack talker. You have made The Outlook so much fun. Not only that, but you have simultaneously made the paper so much better. I loved every one of your articles and it’s obvious you were born to write.

Casey, a backbone. You answer all my sometimes silly questions, no judgments passed, and I appreciate that so much. You are one of the biggest reasons why California was a good time.

Chris O, you are a strong man; dealing with all these women, I couldn’t do it in your shoes. But really, you are going to go far. Remember me, your public policy partner, when you make it big.

Erin, I can’t imagine not having you around to boost my confidence. You are stunning and  hilarious to top it off; I love you, like an honorary big.

Fabiana, you’re kindness in the office was always appreciated. You are beautiful in all ways.

Jackie, hey girl. You are charismatic, supportive, fun, intelligent, and a phenomenal EIC. You did absolutely amazing this year; you’ve worked so hard. The Outlook would have been a mess without you there, giving us the confidence we needed and taking charge when it was required, thank you for everything.

Jessica (Politics), I’m jealous of your hair, and your outfits, and your political intelligence, if that makes sense. I know you are someone who will make a difference in the world.

Jessica (Marketing), you fit right into our group when you came later in this semester. You were my hot tub Cali girl and it was nice getting closer with you; you’re the easiest person to talk to.

Kell, wonder woman. I don’t know how you do it all. All your work here will prove to benefit you once you graduate and I can’t wait to see where you will end up.

Keurig, this is one of the hardest goodbyes. You have gotten me through many long days and nights. A staple in the office, providing me with delicious tea and coffee. Never letting me down or overflowing my caffeinated beverage. You can’t be replaced with any old machine, we have an electronic bond!

Kyle, I’m so glad we were able to get closer in California (The Crew!). You have so many sides; you’re sarcastic and sweet and smart and tough, all things I like. We’re going to have a great time at formal!

Maggie, I can’t say bye to you. I don’t want to. I love you so much. You are everything a friend and sports editor should be! You’re perfect.

Netta! You’re supportive and a great person to talk to. We were so lucky to have you as our graduate assistant. You told me things you’ve learned over the years that I have truly taken to heart.

Nicole, you’ve made me laugh from the beginning of the year when I hardly knew you at all. You’ve made me a better editor through your writing tips and I’m probably going to contact you in the future to ask you about commas during graduate school, so you’re warned.

Paul, you’ve helped the news section so much. Your efforts and willingness to lend a hand whenever possible has made a huge impact on me. Thank you for everything.

Professor Morano, you have shown dedication to your students in both classes I have taken with you as well as at The Outlook office. The time and effort you put into helping us become the best writers we can be has proven to impact our group and I know it will continue to do so in my future endeavors.

Sandy, what would we have done without you! You always kept us on track and held a genuine smile while doing it. You knew exactly what to say when I was nervous about traveling and you are really a positive role model in our office. The Outlook is extremely grateful for you.

Taylor K, this boo right here is my undercover lover, my partner in crime in California, and my distraction from work in The Outlook office. Having class with you has taught me one thing, you are committed to everything you do (including me because I’m cute). But your drive will lead you to do great things.

Taylor, I’m glad you’ve become a bigger part of The Outlook and I look forward to seeing what such a unique person will bring to his future career.

Victoria, my sunshine. You came into The Outlook out of nowhere and instantly made me smile. You really do brighten my day, no matter how sick with strep I am.

These individuals make up only a small percentage of people at the University that have affected me… here are some more.

Susan Bennett: the person who has believed in me from the start. You are a huge motivation to me and you’ve provided me with the confidence I couldn’t find in myself. You’re able to find the good in all things and stay positive in the hardest situations. I really look up to you.

Corey Inzana: a huge inspiration. You taught me to look at the world with a new set of eyes. You’ve helped me to restore my faith in God and find my passion through Guatemala. No matter how many times you annoy me with your mostly corny jokes, I will always remember what you have done for me.

Professor Novek: from introduction to Journalism to Editorial Writing, you’ve helped me grow in so many ways. It is not only the skills and techniques I will remember, but all of the support and guidance you’ve provided along the way as well. Your drive and commitment to your students will always standout to me, and it will forever encourage me to fight for my own passions in life.

Katey McElroy: my sister and best friend. Now I know what a best friend truly is because of you; from helping each other get through breakups, to cuddling on your bed every night over winter break. You have a beautiful, compassionate soul that allows us to relate in so many ways. I’m graduating, and you’re going to Italy, but I know, no matter what, that you will always be a huge part of my life.

James Carney: the person I grew closest to during my four years here, though, probably the only person who didn’t expect a part in all this. You’re the most committed person I have ever met, through homework, fitness, and relationships, you are relentless. Your motivation and drive will always be something I envy, and I hope you always remember the huge impact you’ve had on my life.

My AOII sisters: one of the best decisions I’ve made at school was to join this sorority. At first, I had my doubts, but each and every one of you has shown me what sisterhood is all about. I’m impacted by each of you in different ways and value your roles in my life. I will always be an AOII, which means you will all always be a part of me. ALAM

The Guatemala group: my favorite vacation – that was nowhere near a vacation – was spent with the most incredible group of people. You are all beautiful and deeply compassionate. We shared such a unique experience that has given us such a strong, unique bond. I hope it will always stay that way and I hope we’ll never forget the great moments we had while there.

My EOF Family: we started together, and though many of us are ending separately, I’ll always appreciate the friendships we share. We’re all connected through this incredible program and I can’t imagine not having EOF during my four years. Even now that we are involved in different clubs, departments, etc. on campus, I always feel welcomed when I run into any of you. Good luck to my first MU family in all that you do.

My family: through all of this, my family has supported me and been those who remind me of the love I’m surrounded by, no matter how far I am. You all have such a big piece of my heart and I can’t imagine my life without such confident, strong, beautiful people to back me up.

My dad: “I’m strong when I’m on your shoulders” is an understatement. You’ve been my biggest, most committed support system throughout my four years here. You were my first phone call when I received the Orientation Leader position, my first call when my car wouldn’t start, my first call when I got into graduate school, and you will forever be my number one most important person to tell my every achievement and struggle to. I couldn’t have done this without you.

My mom: My biggest fan, my biggest encourager and the person who will always look to me as a superstar. When I lose confidence, you’re there to tell me how great I am, and remind me what I’m capable of. No matter how many times I’m wrong, or how many times I mess up, you are always there showing me the same amount of love as always. You’re beautiful, just the way you are.

I’ll leave you all with 10 tips. 1. When you need to study, go to the third floor of the library, it’s the most peaceful place there is. 2. You will appreciate the Dining Hall once you lose your meal plan, so enjoy it while it lasts and stop complaining. 3. Make friends with every employee on campus, they will hook you up! 4. Your friends from freshmen year DO NOT have to be your friends senior year, though it is nice when it occurs. 5. Do your homework, and learn to be interested in what you are learning. When you stop looking at it so negatively, it isn’t that bad. 6. Joining clubs on campus will make you feel like the most popular person on campus; you’ll never be alone again. 7. A 4.0 every semester isn’t worth your stress, if you’re in the library more than you see your friends, family, and the campus overall, you’re doing something wrong. 8. Get a five-subject notebook and rent your books. 9. If you need a conversation starter, discuss the state of the parking. 10. Do things that make you uncomfortable, things that scare you, because when you accomplish them, which you will, you will realize you can do anything.

I’m graduating, but I’m ready and excited to experience what’s next; even if I don’t know exactly what that is yet.