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Running Towards What is Meant to Be | Kiera Lanni’s Senior Goodbye

I consider myself a late bloomer. My brother Brennan and I were born almost three months early and really had to fight our very baby best to stay alive. We were both only a pound or two when we were born. As Brennan jokes, “We were born ready! Wait, just kidding, we were premature.”

After spending the first month of our lives at Monmouth Medical Center, we were ready to begin to bloom in our hometown of Brick, New Jersey. Flash forward 18 years, those two struggling infants were ready to start the next big step in their lives; college.

Being the late bloomer I am, it took me awhile to mentally prepare myself for such a big step. I decided that commuting to Monmouth University was the way to go. I knew other kids my age were going to colleges far away, or felt they had to live on campus to get the “full college experience.” I wanted to prove that you can have a fulfilling college experience without actually living there.

I feel like I have grown a lot during my time at Monmouth. When I was a freshman, I was but a wee bud, and now I am half-way to becoming a full-fledged chrysanthemum (almost). I was able to discover my strengths and weaknesses, and discover where my passions really lie. I never thought I would consider becoming a journalist or photographer, but they seem like real possibilities to me now. I am thankful that Monmouth has given the opportunities to be the student I am today.

In fact, I have a lot of people to thank…

kiera lanni 2My family – Nothing is more important to me than family.

Mom – You have fought through thick and thin for me. I know I can always rely on you to be there for me, to help me out, and to always be on my side. I truly would not be the woman I am today without you. Really, no words can really express how much I love you. I know you question how good you are as a mother, but you shouldn’t. You are the epitome of what a mother should be. I love you!

Dad – You work hard to provide for our family and have carried on that true Italian work ethic. You have always helped me out when I needed it; whether it be dragging you to a Gwen Stefani concert, being a bodyguard, or letting me ride the train. I love you so much, and thank you for being such a great father.

Ian – Thank you for always being so loving, although I try to dodge your hugs. You have taught be to be an open-minded, sympathetic individual. I know massive amounts of Godzilla, Mario, Alien, and Tremors trivia thanks to you. I love you so much!

kiera lanni 3Brennan – We are the inseparable twins! I don’t know what I would be like if I didn’t have a twin. I am glad we went to Monmouth together, and endured all stressful drives, assignments, and whatever else was thrown our way, together. Although we can have our fights, we can always find ourselves playing Donkey Kong Country at the end of the day. I love your bro, keep being a clumsy banana.

Siana – My little sister Siana. I have seen you mature into a responsible young woman, which I’m happy about because you used to be a little terror child. Although that little terror child still comes out at times, you are my best friend. We understand each other like no one else. Thanks for being my model for my photography projects and never really complaining. I love you wife.

kiera lanni 4Kylene – When you were born, you were truly a gift from the angels. You are the most caring, loving, baby sister a girl could ask for. I’m happy that you are kind of my mini me! Always keep your head up, and keep catching those Pokémon. I love you so much Kyky.

Dee Dee – You are the angel in my life. You are the kindest, most loving, and funniest grandmother I could ever ask for. I know you have been through so much, yet you still are one of the most positive people I know. You are almost rooting for me, and I love when you get excited when I accomplish something. Pop Pop and Uncle Mike will always be with you because I know that they are always with me. I love you so much Dee Dee!

Tucker – Tucker boy, Fishy, Bubba, Puppy Fish. You are the best, crazy, wacko doggy I could ask for. There is nothing I look forward to more than seeing you wiggle your little body when I come home. I promise to give you a treat all the time.

kiera lanni 5Sara Rosenfeld – You are my best friend in the world. You are the most big-hearted, caring friend I could ask for. You are always there for me. I enjoy our rides home from Monmouth, and us talking about the most random things. I am so thankful I found a friendship like yours; it will last a lifetime. Love you Sara.

Shout out to Christina Addison, Stephanie Laureano, Stephanie Moscatello, and Jackie Shugard for being my friends! Love you all!

Woods Theatre – Freshman year, I was a shy, nervous-wreck. I felt I would never fit into campus, or find my grove. I didn’t know where I belonged or what I was really doing. Thankfully, my work study job gave me a home away from home. I want to thank Barbara, Christie, Maurice, Joe and everyone at the Music and Theatre Department for being so kind, open, and welcoming to Brennan and I. It was a pleasure working for you guys all four years at Monmouth. We have learned so much, and will forever be thankful for our time at Woods.

kiera lanni 6The Outlook – Thank you to everyone at The Outlook! I know I’m shy, and pop into the office like a fly under the radar, but I am so happy I joined the Outlook. Being the Photo Editor taught me to come out of my comfort zone, and has taught be valuable skills in the journalism field. Writing for the Outlook has done the same. I learned more in my two years at The Outlook than my four years of actual schooling. I am happy I found a community at Monmouth I fit into! Thank you to Brianna, Casey, and Fabiana for being so welcoming when I joined. Also, thank you to Danielle and Jamilah. I had such a blast in L.A. because of you two, and I’m glad I found a friendship within you both.

I want to thank all my professors at Monmouth. I have truly learned from each one of you. Especially, thank you to Professor Mark Ludak for encouraging my photography all these years! Thank you to Professor Morano for introducing me to The Outlook, and thank you to Professor Novek for getting me into journalism.

kiera lanni 7Overall, Monmouth has led me to amazing opportunities. I got to intern with photographer Danny Sanchez, a man I have learned so much from and has become like a mentor to me. I got to ride a plane for the first time in my life, and go to my dream location; LOS ANGELES! I got to visit my favorite band, No Doubt’s hometown. I got to see palm trees. I got to get out of my comfort zone. That’s what Monmouth allowed me to do; get out of my comfort zone. I still have a long way to go, but I am on my path to something great.

Arrivederci Monmouth!



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