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“I Care. I Care a Lot, it’s Kinda My Thing” | Alexandria Afanador’s Senior Goodbye

I remember when I was young, growing up I wanted so desperately to be older- I would drag my little feet around the house in someone else’s high heels, rub bright crimson lipstick across my lips, eventually smearing it on everything I touched. Being the youngest of four older half sisters, I looked at them as adults, not siblings. I wanted to be like them: traipsing around with significant others, graduating high school, being their own people–just like the movies. I didn’t know that when I got older, it came with a number of other things less glamorous than walking the halls hand in hand with friends. But, still, here I am today, looking back on the years I’ve spent wishing to be older, more mature, having an aura of seriousness and elegance that I couldn’t even imagine having, let alone deserving.

Afanador 2I can remember when I was younger, I always thought I knew what I wanted to do. I was a bit of a drama queen (still am sometimes), but I remained between wanting to be a lawyer or a teacher. When I realized that my dreams of becoming a pop star were quickly crushed by choir teachers, and my dramatics ceased when I had to be serious and I couldn’t stop giggling, I settled on teacher.

There isn’t a moment in time when I did not love English class, I was in third grade writing poems with words like solemn and contemplation, whereas my classmates wrote about their puppies and red roses. So naturally, when I went into college, I knew that I wanted to be an English teacher. It took me doing so terribly in my education classes and failing out of the program my sophomore year to say to myself, “This isn’t even something I want to do for the rest of my life.” And so, the me you see today is a direct result of finding something I was happy doing: writing and leading.

It’s so easy for me to cop-out and say that I don’t know where to begin my ‘goodbye,’ but I know exactly where to begin. “Take it back, take it way back, take it way, way back,” to the first day of school. I put on a good front, but I had a hard time transitioning to college and being away from what used to be my ‘normal’ routine. I would come to campus, go to class, and then leave; I was always in the parking lot during long breaks or hiding somewhere in a remote spot of one of the academic buildings. The one thing that I owe a lot to my transitioning is the Commuter Student Mentor (CSM) Program. Through applying to be a CSM, I got to meet people and not only that, but I was able to meet one of my first mentors, Vaughn Clay, Ed.D.

Afanador 3He would probably shrug it off and say it was all me, but the program that was designed to help other students ended up helping me get acclimated. To Vaughn and the CSM Program, I owe a lot and I look forward to seeing big things in the future for them.

Of course, after getting deeply involved with the program, I was able to be my normally very enthusiastic self. I won’t lie and say my entire college career was spent getting involved and being happy because it wasn’t. I spent a lot of time struggling with who I was, what I wanted to be, and a lot of emotional damage from outside forces.

But, this entire ‘goodbye’ that I have struggled with writing since I realized I would need to be writing one is dedicated to those people I not only cherish, but owe more than enough gratitude, love, and respect to. You are the reason I am graduating in May.

To you.

My people.

Afanador 4My Mama, I owe my life and world to you. I don’t even have words to sum up the laughter, joy, positivity, and motivation you bring to my life. I know I am not perfect, I know I disappoint sometimes, but there is no amount of my being that does not revel in the fact that I have the best mom in the world. To my biggest cheerleader, I would never have made it this far if it weren’t for you.

My Dad, I know we butt heads, I know I’m a wreck, and I get it from you. I would be in a completely different world if it weren’t for your insight, your wisdom, your undying love. You are the reason I am the way I am today, you have shaped me into the smart, insightful, wise woman I am today and I probably couldn’t tell you this straight to your face because you’d get mad that you would start crying, so I will say it here and I will read it to you later. You are my everything, and I love you more than I can even put into words. 

My Gaga, my first best friend, my rock, my “Do you have any extra cash?” I would not have made it to college, I would not have been so happy if it weren’t for you being right by my side. You are the one to fill my life with laughter and crazy antics, you will forever be one of the biggest influences in my life.

My Julia Bean, Lucy Goosey, my favorite family, I will always be ‘homesick’ for your home filled with love, positivity, and genuine joy. To my beans, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t do something to make you proud. I hope one day, when you’re older than five and bigger than two feet tall, that you look to me for inspiration; I do it all for you both, my gorlys.

My family, every last bit of it, I give my love, my respect, and all of my gratitude to you all. You are my biggest inspiration.

Afanador 5My inspirations did not stop there, I was able to be met with incredible mentors in the classes I took. Dr. Waters, Dean Thomas, Dr. Comiskey, I have learned more than I could think of learning in your classes and in conversations. I am forever grateful for the lessons taught and real life knowledge I was able to acquire from you all.

Thank you, Jenn, for blessing me with your smile every single day I come into Plangere and for letting me be your outlet.

My Sandy, I am always going to miss you and shutting your door to talk about what’s going on. I will always be grateful for you and your kindness, your protection, and your golden advice, “You’re almost outta here.”

Afanador 6The people I choose to surround myself with will always amaze me with the words that come out of their mouths. You all, I admire.

My Dan, there is no alternate universe where we don’t meet and I don’t instantly connect with you. I will remember the night I knew I could count on you: 1:00 a.m. on a Tuesday after packaging, I sat on the comfy chair, and you were at your desk and I confessed one of my biggest low points of my life. You sat there, actively listening, stoic, and compassionate all at the same time. I will never regret coming into the office, hearing your insane laughter, and thinking to myself, “She’s crazy, I kinda love her.”

My Christopher, since sixth grade, the day we hated each other was the day we became best friends. It’s safe to say that we have grown, we have become closer, and we have truly matured. I am thankful that in middle school I was a dramatic, curse-crazy, loser and that you continue to put up with that today. I am proud of you, I’m proud of us, and I can not get over the fact that you are my best friend. Thank you for putting up with me, I guess I’ll stick around and put up with you too.

Afanador 7My Bri, I can’t even tell you how much I have grown because of you. I have become the writer, the editor, the badass woman I continue to strive to be every day because of the way you teach me and the others around you. There are so many things I wish I could put into words, like the way you sit me down and teach me what I need to be doing better, the way you make the room light up when you bounce in, the ridiculous way you laugh, and so many other little Bri things that make you who you are. Thank you for being my supporter.

My Danielle, thank you for supporting and encouraging my crazy ideas, thank you for late night car crying and laughing about dumb things, for being stressed about the things that matter and don’t matter and things we’ve probably already forgotten about. We have held each other up even when we want to punch each other. I am glad that I got to meet you, I am thankful for the days we’ve had.

My Coco, I don’t know where to begin. I was intimidated by you the first day I realized you were in my class. You’re an extraordinary woman who commands the respect of the ones around you and if I can even be a portion of that, I will be set for life. You are talented, you are my rock, you piss me off, you are everything I hope to be and everything I don’t deserve. Thank you for listening to me complain about things I can change and things that are sometimes out of my control. Thank you for entertaining my crazy plots, and for letting me make you graduate.

My Cole, you are sitting right next to me and I am listening to you be compassionate and listening to others around you. I admire your poise and elegance and the way you put up with me in my emotional state and when I’m overflowing with love. We are so different and so similar that I don’t know how I hadn’t found you sooner. I am glad that I was your mentor and that you were able to become my little in the process.

Afanador 8My Kerr, I remember the first day I met you and we hated each other. It was only until recently did we realize we actually couldn’t stand each other last year. Look at us now: back to back at our desks continuing to our work, but now bonding over a mutual hatred of everyone else’s stupidity. I know we don’t express sentiment, but, I am grateful to have you, to have our ridiculous plots, for putting up with each other. I am thankful for you.

My Matthew, Good evening, Merry Christmas. A year of putting up with your comments, a year of getting you to actually put your talent to use in the office, and a semester of actually getting to know the real you. I am genuinely proud of you, and I am glad to know you and call you my friend. Thank you for listening to me when I didn’t have anyone, for caring about me when not many did, for not always showing that you do (or that you do in fact listen), and for being my supporter in all the ridiculous things I want to accomplish. I appreciate you more than you know.

My Mehdi, I love you. You are so brilliant and dedicated, and I admire your work ethic. You will do incredible things in life, you will cure diseases, and you will be doing what you love. Spend the next few years having fun AND working. I have faith in you, have faith in yourself and all things will be fine.

Afanador 9My Nilly, I am so blessed to have been met with your contagious laughter, your ridiculous grammar corrections, and your love. First male, queer president, I am honored to be your mentor and your big.

My Hayls, Amber, and Shan, I love each of you for the same reason: you better me. You make me a better version of me and spend your time listening to everything I have to say. I love you.

Thank you, The Outlook, for bringing me closer to finding who I am and for giving me a safe space to meet like-minded people. Thank you for showing me that my future is bright.

I have a million and one things to be grateful for and I may not have the space to say it, but I will always be thankful for the beautiful moments of laughter, joy, and crying because I’m overworked.

We were together, I forget the rest and that’s all that’s important. There’s nothing left to say, but, Bye, I love you.

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