An Open Letter to Chapman University, Class of 2015

It took me 10 minutes of staring at my computer to start this sentence. Maybe because I just woke up. Maybe because I need new glasses. Maybe because I’m trying to string together a bunch of incoherent thoughts to try to sum up my college experience via my words.

Let me start by saying that there is a large portion of you I have never met. I’m sure there’s going to be some awkward moment during graduation where someone hears me say, “Who the hell is that?” while pointing to another person in a grad cap. To all of you, I regret not meeting you. Even if you suck. I just like to know everyone. Even the douches. Congrats on graduating, unknown douches.

But to my people: my day-ones and my newest models, my kick-ass friends, my number ones. To the people I met on move-in day that saw a scrawny blonde who’d never had a drink and whose long-distance boyfriend took up most of her free time, and still wanted to be my friend. To the people I picked up through my classes, who inspired my mind and challenged what I thought I knew about the world. To my Greek family: to AGD and Beta and Gamma Phi–my supporters and my rocks and my shoulders that I’ve both cried on and insisted on sitting upon. To my roommates, the women who I relied on before I even knew them, the girls whose quirks and routines and likes and dislikes have taught me how four different people can live so close together for four years, still laughing and still helping and still friends. To my friends: hey.

Oh hey, party people. Wow so, yeah, hi. Are we really going through with this? Like I’m sure if we all made the decision to peacefully protest graduating, we won’t have to get that diploma just yet. It’s the same mentality we have in really hard classes: they can’t fail all of us, so why would they be able to force all of us to graduate, right? I’m right. Right? I get that some of you have “plans” for post-grad life, but like, let’s be real: Europe or another year of school??? Which would you prefer, huh??? Believe me, I’m with you, I have “graduate school plans,” but you know what, we are all just going to have to take one for the team here. This is a joint effort. Get involved.

This isn’t going to be a letter where I try to give everyone post-grad advice. I’m in no position to do that. I’m literally in your shoes. What kind of authority do I have? Besides the authority I think I have, and that’s mostly song lyrics, Disney trivia, and who’s hooking up with who. You know, the important stuff. I will say, though, what you already know: you’re all so amazing. You are going to do great things, no matter the category of those things. You’re the best kind of people I know. All jokes aside, I truly and honestly believe that.

Most of us graduating are the OG class of 2011, which, fun fact, I also wrote an open letter to one time. Probably on a blog. I can’t remember now, honestly, these things all run together in my mind. Fall of 2011, we navigated our way through the parking structure with our parents and our Container Store items, waiting for a shopping cart to become available so we could carry all of our desk lamps and extra long twin bedsheets up through the dorm. We were so young and so limber. So what if some boys across the hall had to help us “loft” the beds? We were on top of the world! WE HAD TASTED SWEET FREEDOM, AND IT TASTED LIKE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES FROM THE CAF.

And now, we’re here. We’ve all kind of darted in different directions. We were once the cohesive group that took Play Fair very seriously and was very excited about the Black and White dance. And GLO. And 3Oh!3. We were once psyched about venue parties because there was a definitive location and it could not easily be rolled. And now we go to O’Hara’s at 7pm on a Wednesday just because we can. We’ve become the age that seemed like some sort of distant goal when we were eighteen. We’ve made friends and we’ve alienated former hook-ups. We’ve embarrassed the absolute shit out of ourselves at a few events. We’ve done date parties and formals and Vegas. We are battle-scarred.

We’ve aced the midterm, but failed the final. We’ve re-taken classes. We’ve given scathing evals. We’ve found a mentor. We’ve made a connection for the future. They’ve written us recommendation letters. We still skipped their class that one time because we were marathoning a Netflix show. They taught us some stuff. We wrote down some things. We filled out scantrons. Sometimes we remembered that this was the reason we were here. Sometimes we didn’t. Either way, we’ve been sufficiently and excellently educated.

We’ve loved someone, we’ve lost someone. We’ve gotten together, we’ve broken up. We made out that one time, we never spoke again. There were flirtatious texts that turned into a date that turned into a relationship that turned into… God, what are we now? Rinse and repeat. And repeat again. Maybe we’ve found someone that’s down for all the ups and downs, and that thing occurs when they decide that their relationship is worth it and they’re staying together. God bless all of you. Bless your love and your strength. But also, bless your battle scars.

We had a love/hate relationship with food and alcohol. We had a love/hate relationship with late night conversations that turned into early morning conversations. We’ve had a love/hate relationship with each other. We’ve had a love/hate relationship with our alarms and Parent’s Weekend and spending money on dinner and the Caf and sleeping in a bed that wasn’t ours. I’m having a love/hate relationship with this post. All of these things are the facts.

I’m trying to will myself to get over all of you. To break up with you. To let you go. Because if I know anything about hangovers (I do), they aren’t pleasant to work through. This is going to be the stupidest, most cliched thing you’re going to read about graduation, but I do not apologize for it: Graduation marks the beginning of the worst hangover I’m ever going to have. Maybe there won’t be as much vomit (God willing, amiright) but it’ll be there. Hanging around, as hangovers do, interrupting everything I do to remind me of all the fun I had, and how I’m now paying for all of that fun. I realize I’m essentially comparing four years of college to one night at the D, but it’s me. I don’t know what you were expecting. So you see, even though there’s the looming sense of impending doom, I can’t break up with you. I can’t just stay in tonight. I can’t not go through with it. It’s the bad decision that I know I have to make. God, this sounds like a script of my entire college career.

There is not a single doubt in my mind that the passed four years have been the best years of my life. Absolutely terrible, terrible things happened to me, and college still trumps everything else. It beat out my childhood (It’s most formidable competitor), killed high school, and just ANNIHILATED middle school. I can’t even begin to explain what these four years have meant to me. I am a completely different person than I was when I walked into Henley for the first time and tripped over my own feet. I still trip over my own feet, but practically everything else is different. I blame you.

I blame the school and my professors and my classes and the spiral staircase in AF and the fountains and Disneyland and the bagels at Einsteins and Homecoming Weekend. I blame all-nighters and Panther Bucks and philanthropy events and Vegas and Doys. I blame Undie Run and the library and parties that are “walking distance” and the football field. I blame Newport and my parents’ money and the Chap Cat and the Filing Station. I blame the microwave/fridge combo in the dorms and the fire alarms and the pool. I blame the “no power strips” rule and the secret snack stashes under everyone’s beds. I blame alcohol. I blame Netflix and Hulu Plus. I blame this three-story house. I blame Pinky’s. I blame print credits. I blame the top of Beckman. I blame my sorority and that one fraternity. I blame Orientation. I blame my acceptance letter. I blame those boys and those men. I blame my friends. I blame my best friends. I blame you.

I didn’t totally like me before I came to college. I like me now. I like me a whole lot. And I blame the class of 2015. Thank you for doing this to me. Thank you for giving me this experience. I refuse to say goodbye.

“I do believe I have been changed for the better.” -Wicked.

I love you idiots.


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