This week I had to opportunity to have a conversation an old friend and fellow senior at Delval, Vanessa Rodriguez. During this we discussed our journeys at Delval. As a senior she is now the Vice President of Students for Diversity and graduating with a degree in Conservation and Wildlife Management, with promises of a job in New York after graduation. We met during Vanessa’s freshman year and haven’t always maintained that friendship but are coming back to that this year with new eyes.
Her: We were just young. I was young as shit. We all made mistakes and for that I can’t hold grudges. We didn’t know any better and we’re still trying to learn ourselves.
Me: When I look back at the friends I’ve had and things I’ve done compared to the life I live now, I feel like a completely different person. It’s like I’m so happy I grew up.
Her: Definitely, the more time you spend here the less of a shock everything is. You see people leave; Good friends, all the time. Think about it, half my freshman class is gone. If they were here things would probably be different. I probably would be different but, at the same time I’m here for my degree and can’t stray from that when I’m so close.
Me: What do you think was the biggest lesson you’ve taken from the college experience is?
Her: Everyone has their shit, it’s all about how you handle it. The hardest things in my life so far I have lived through here. Some of my favorite memories are from here as well and that is the way life is. When I look at the way I respond to things now compared to way I did my freshman or sophomore year it does feel like thank god I’m not 18 anymore because it’s so much less drama. There’s so much more room for something productive.
Me: I think it’s also a matter of understanding and accepting the fact that every friendship or relationship isn’t meant to last forever. Everyone isn’t going to like you. Everyone isn’t not going to need and want what you need when you need it.
Her: Facts. You can’t save everyone and honestly not everyone wants to be saved. Being able to meet people where they are at and building in a way that’s healthy for both people is the most important. There are so many people and things I should have let go of but I didn’t because I was afraid to or because I felt like I was needed and honestly that was worst. I think everyone in our position getting ready to graduate looks back on everything they’ve been through to get here like yes it’s been hard, it’s been really hard sometimes, but sometimes it was everything you thought college was going to be when you were filling out all those applications. Part of it makes you so happy it’s almost over then, there’s another part of you that’s afraid one day you’re going to miss it.
I think everyone in our position is in a state of reminiscence. For some the time flew by while for others it dragged on. Regardless of your feelings about everything that has ever happened here, some part of you has to honor the reasons you stayed and how much you’ve grown. After this interview I decided to talk to more seniors and continue this journey. In college, we very rarely learn the lessons we thought we were going to learn. It is often the unexpected mishaps that teach us the most, hardly any classroom; and because of that it would be interesting what the senior class has learn from both their shared and separate experiences here.