As I sit here, preparing for the last finals week of my time here at Chadron State, I can’t help but reflect on how much some of the most seemingly insignificant things have come to mean to me. I remember arriving here three and a half years ago, scared and unsure of what this new town would offer but excited to have full control over my own life for the first time. I honestly can say that I remember glimmers and moments, some good and some bad, rather than the classes that I went through here. Sure, the vault within my brain unconsciously makes those sparks of connection with information from my English Lit or Public Relations courses, but I couldn’t tell you half of the titles of my readings or what each class discussion looked like. I find myself remembering the people, the weather, the land, and how I felt here more than anything. I remember how the sun would glimmer through little rainstorms in my window in my freshman room in Edna Work Wing. I remember being with my friends and us accidentally tripping the fire alarm system one night, blaming it on a pack of burnt ramen noodles. I remember cursing the biting cold each winter. But what I remember even more than these moments are those that were shared between people. I remember the way that Dr. Cox brought us donuts for our final and made us coffee in her pour-over coffee maker. I remember Dr. Jones encouraging me to embrace new experiences. I remember French-Collins giving me pep talks that made me realize that I really could take on the world.
Looking back on these moments, I realize that these are the ones that I want to bring with me more than anything. These are the moments that they don’t advertise in the promotional videos for Chadron State College. They don’t show Dr. Fritz offering an extension into the summer after suicidal depression left half of my assignments (and the final) missing. They don’t show Kay Mitchell smiling and greeting me as I passed by every day. They don’t show Channing Jons joking and laughing with us residents in the lobby. Half the time, I didn’t even realize that these moments were what helped me succeed. These moments turned out to be the ones that mean everything to me now.
My advice to anyone reading this, whether you’re a freshman finding our blog or a senior getting ready to leave, I ask you to reflect on those who made it worth it. Those who made every windy winter day, every overheated building, every gruesome assignment… bearable. Lean on your friends. Rely on your professors and be forgiving with them too, they’re only human. Soak up every single moment, past, present, and future, that you feel creating warmth in your heart.
Because at the end of the day, no matter where you visit in the world, no matter who you still talk to and who you don’t, no matter how many years have passed since, we existed here together once.
— Kaitlyn (Kait) Yuen, senior, from Brighton, Colorado, 22.