I can remember growing up, how I’d play with my little Justin Timberlake N*Sync marionette doll as I bopped my pig tails from side to side, telling everyone who thought they’d marry him “Bye Bye Bye” (I’m still talking to you, Jessica Biel).
I can remember the simplicity and joy that’d seem to engulf me as I’d reach my Barbie band-aid covered arm into the back of the freezer as I stood on my tippity-toes, biting my tongue as I finally grazed my fingers on a lime-flavored ice pop.
I can remember racing Bowser and Toad on my Nintendo 64 as I listened to “Hit Me Baby One More Time!” – and to every beat, I’d launch off a green shell to a Mario Kart racecar in front of me.
I can remember imagining what the future “me” would be like. If I’d still maintain my inner-child, regardless of my age, and if I’d always have my happy, loving zest for life – even though life seems to grow harder and harder.
I can remember constantly telling my mom, “I can’t wait to be an adult and grow up!”
And now I find myself wishing that my grown-up life could just momentarily pause, so I can take a deep breath, waft in every last moment of my college experience, and exhale.
I can’t believe the time has come, and in only a couple of weeks, I’ll be strutting across the stage of PNC bank, shaking the hands of President Paul Brown, and receiving (practically) the holy grail of college – a diploma.
But before I leave, I have so many people to thank for pushing me throughout my life and these past four years to be the absolute best version of myself that I could be, and then some. To all of those who helped me maintain all of the qualities that make me, well, me, and never letting me lose sight of who “Brianna” is – the quirky, corny, lovable, curly ‘fro’d girl with the hyena-esque laugh who omits positive vibes wherever she bounces – this is for you.
La mia famiglia.
Mammadukes: I could honestly fill this entire newspaper with hundreds of thousands of reasons as to why you are my biggest motivator in life, and why every little thing
that I do, I do with you and the betterment of our family in the back of my mind. You have crafted me to be the hard-working, outgoing, caring woman that I am, and I couldn’t have done anything without your constant support. To say I love you with all of my heart would be a severe understatement. I love you with every beat of my heart, every blink of an eye, every movement of a muscle, and every breath of life. Thank you for always believing in me and showing me what it truly means to love someone unconditionally. I hope to embody all of your qualities and more.
The fam: You are the best family I could’ve ever wanted to be birthed into. Without all of your love, support, constant guidance, and showering of laughter, I’d never be the person that I am today. I owe so much to every single one of you.
I miei amici.
Katay Lay Maray: Best friends for eleven years, and still counting. I honestly don’t even know where to begin with you, but I just want you to know that I love you. Just like my mom, I could dedicate this entire newspaper to our insiders, jokes, memories, and overall characteristics that define our friendship. I can’t describe the impact you’ve had on my life, but it’s been an incredible one. I know, hands down, you are going to be my maid of honor at my wedding one day. And I know that we’ll still be kickin’ it when we’re both 85-years-old, waiting in line with our blinged out canes, waiting for Chipotle (hoping they don’t skimp us). I love you so much, and I thank you for being there for me every step of the way.
Awick Webetje: FOR THE GLORY! Okay, so I’m not really sure where to start with you, but you are hands down the greatest guy I could ever call my best friend. You just get me. You accept me for all of the stupid jokes that I crack (well, if “accept” means nag on me with Danny for hours.. then yeah). You care about me in a way that makes me overwhelmed with happiness. You just are hands down one of the greatest people I could know, and you’ve been such a great addition to my life. Just like Katie, I know you’ll be there begging us to go to Galaxy diner or Dunkin at 85-years-old, just laughing at all of the hilarious things we’ve done – and will continue to do.
Danny: You are crazy, but I love you. Pause. You add this vision to my life that would practically be nonexistent without you. You’re hilarious, independent, and intelligent – and you help bring out those sides of me, as well. Mr. Rubes, I know you’ll be a best friend that I’ll have for life, and I’m so proud of how we’ve seen each other grow and mature over the past couple of years. Thank you for always being there for me when I’ve needed you the most. Here’s to many more stupid memories, and hopefully, less “elephants in your cups” and Crazy Taxi drives. Now let’s go get some Taco Bell and bump to some Drake so I can stop being so sappy.
Aubs: Mr. McLaughin, you banana lookin’… Where do I begin with you? To be completely honest, I never envisioned myself ever even remotely being friends with you, nonetheless best friends. But I’m so happy that vision was wrong. You’re not even my friend, you’re my family. I can go to you for anything, and I know you’d stop whatever you’re doing and help me. In a way, this is going to sound corny, but you’re like.. my voice of reason. I’ve never met someone like you who just picks me up and pushes me in ways that you do. I love you more than you could ever imagine. I know you tell me all of the time that I’m one of the friends that you’ll have for life – and you got that right, I promise I’m not going anywhere. And Mel, I love you too. Thank you both for always supporting me in everything. I can’t wait until your wedding.
BIWWWWWWY: Yes Chrissie, this is for you. I know you’re probably going to cry at these next few sentences, and that’s perfectly okay because I’m crying writing this just thinking of how great of a person you are – and how even more of an amazing friend you’ve been to me throughout my college years. Meeting you freshman year was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. From getting soaked with you in chocolate, to ridin’ around and gettin’ it in Domino’s delivery cars, I am positive that you are my other half. Your J. Bagel will always love you, and I will never ever ever ever ever stop being your best friend. Thanks for being what I consider to be my guardian angel. (F.I.R.B.)
Kita: The strongest, hardest working, most loving and down-to-Earth woman that I know. Meeting you freshman year was a blessing. You’ve been this amazing force in my life that I can’t even describe in words. You inspire me day after day, and I truly hope to be half the woman that you are. I hope you realize how much I appreciate you as a best friend, and how much I cherish you. We’ve been through so much together, and we’ve seen each other grow in ways that I’m not sure most people have. From Elmwood to Maplewood to even now – there are entirely too many memories and laughs to try and squeeze into this tiny paragraph. I love you, Keet. And I always will.
Jess and Eryn: I can tell from this angle that you both are currently reading this paper that you love the BBDD. But in all seriousness, you both crack me up. Living with yous last year was such an incredible experience and we formed such lasting friendships. You both are my partners in crime, and I love you both so so so much.
Jaelyn, Hail, Kwistina, Tat, and Nicole: MY GIRLS! You have all, individually and collectively, added so much to my life, it’s insane. I feel honored to be able to call you all my friends. You’re all insane(ly driven), hysterical, creative, free, and loving, and my college experience would definitely not be the same if I haven’t been graced with your presences. Thank you all for making laugh so hard I thought I’d have abs of steel (*sigh* I still don’t). More importantly, thank you all for redefining what it means to be a true friend.
Trev and Biggie: The two most exotic, carefree, loving, determined, edgy people I have ever met. I can honestly say that meeting the two of you was the best thing that could’ve happened my sophomore year of college. You two are seriously beautiful individuals with hearts of gold, a swagger like none other, and vibes of pure happiness. Wherever you go, you always turn the energy level up a few notches. You guys brought out a side of me that I really never knew existed, and I love it. I love you guys so much. Thanks for being my best friends and life coaches.
Mags and Kel: You are the coolest Philly hippies I have ever met (honestly didn’t even know those existed until I met yous). You both omit this energy that livens up any atmosphere, and it’s simply beautiful and amazes me. You are both going to be successful in whatever you choose to do, and I can’t wait to see where life takes you two peas in a pod. I am so grateful to have met the dynamic duo, and I love you both with all of my heart.
Kyle: Hey bubba. Getting to know you over these past couple of years has really been amazing. I’ve seen you grow, scratch that, bloom, and it’s been wonderful. You really are such a fun, loving spirit and I’m so happy to have gotten to know you. You will forever have a place in my heart.
Victoria: I hundo p love you and the way that you totally hate mankind, but it’s menacingly beautiful. Rock on, and be the edgy woman you were meant to be.
Chris: My savior. Honestly, I don’t know what I would’ve done without you this year… I probably would’ve went insane. Thank you for being the wu to my wei. You are such an old soul, and I thank you for gracing me with all of your knowledge.
Fab: You are beautiful (both inside and out). I know one day you’ll be working/anchoring your own show on E! because it’s seriously just engrained in your genetics. I love you fabbbby.
Heather: It’s insane that we met freshman year and now we reconnected our senior year. I am so happy that you decided to join this family, and I am even happier that we both got to pop our bull-riding cherries together. Yeehaw to that and loaded nachos!
Amanda, Erin, Alyssa, Kiera, Danielle, Jess, Casey, and Lauren: I am honored to have met all of you, and you are all going to do amazing things in life. You all have an incredible set of skills that will take you far in life – and I am honored to have been able to work with you over the semesters.
The Outlook staff 2013-14: Thank you all for welcoming me into this amazing family that I call The Outlook. Without all of you pushing me to be the best writer, reporter, and designer that I could be,
I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today. The Outlook will forever have a place in my heart – and the ‘13-14 staff is where it all began.
Le mie ispirazioni.
Professor Morano: Thank you. If it wasn’t for you and your introduction to journalism course, I wouldn’t be here today. Your amazing story and background simply inspired me to channel the inner writer within me, and just do it. You told me to “be the ball,” and here I am. I owe so much of who I am to you, and all of my knowledge of journalism to the four courses I have taken with you. Thank you for being a mentor, a role model, a professor, and a friend.
Professor Harris: The woman with the most beautiful soul I have ever met, ever. I seriously have never met someone as amazing and moving and inspiring as you. You are this bubble of sunshine that is chock full o’ knowledge, wisdom, and life lessons, and it is simply moving. To say you have inspired me wouldn’t even come close to describing the profound affect you’ve had on me these past four years at the University. Your high-spirited personality and dedication to your students is extraordinary. I know that even after graduation, you will continue to motivate me.
Professor Taylor, Professor Simoes, and Dr. McAllister: Thank you all for shedding your tons of wisdom onto me throughout my years here. Each of you have individually impacted me, and it’s been amazingly beautiful.
Mrs. Moran and Mr. Stack: Even after all of these years, everything that you have taught me in high school still resonates with me today. All of the wisdom that you shed on me will forever be engrained in my little noggin’, and I thank you for that. You two were the first teachers I ever had that made me realize that teachers truly can impact and influence a student to go on and do absolutely incredible things. You both molded me into the person that I am today, and I will never forget it. Thank you for being some of the greatest teachers that I have ever had, and thank you for continuing to inspire me day after day after day.
Sandy: Thank you for being my mom away from home. You always know just what to say and when to say it. You have such a calming presence, such a beautiful outlook on life, and such a spirit that is unlike anyone I have ever met. Thank you for being my rock this entire year. I appreciate everything you have done for not only me, but my life. You are amazing.
The Political Science Department: To Kristen, Dr. Patten, Dr. Bordelon, Dr. Datta, Dr. Nappen, and the rest of the department, thank you for being my second family for these past four years and welcoming me into the department. I have never met such a lively, inspiring, fun-loving, and spirited group of people until I stepped into Bey to work. The love you all poured onto me week after week was simply amazing. I’d say goodbye, but I know I’ll be back to visit.
Il mio cuore.
Chris-chin: The man who showed me how to love and what it means to fall in love. I’ve said this before, but you have this profound effect on me where it’s as if time stops whenever I’m with you, and the only thing that exists is this energy between our two souls. I’m so corny, I know, but you make my whole body glow. You showed this baby face some of the greatest qualities; most importantly, though, you singlehandedly taught me how to laugh (and embrace) my insecurities – especially my wittle Buddha. Whenever I hold your hand, you send this surge of every positive emotion ever throughout my body. I saved you for last, because, well, I see you there with me until the very end. I love you, my soul mate. Mi corazon. My other half.
“Future” me is everything that I used to daydream about as I’d twirl my bouncing curly locks with my chubby little fingers. I’ve still maintained my inner-child, still harvested this loving zest for life, and still managed to constantly radiate happiness. My N*Sync lovin’, ice pop-guzzlin’, Britney Spears boppin’ self would be proud. Who am I kidding? That’s still who I am. Except now I double fist ice pops and Chipotle burritos.
Thank you to my friends, family, and professors for pushing me to embrace and love myself. As I continue to “grow up,” I know we won’t grow apart.