BY CARMEN FANNING
Graduation season is among us, and with that comes a mix of emotions – nostalgia, excitement, and confusion. When college life comes to an end, it’s important to look back at the journey and the lessons learned. Fort Hays State University’s senior class of 2021 has some of the brightest individuals this world will encounter.
Let’s reminisce with some of them as they reflect on their freshman selves and the journey to where they are now.
Anna Deal – Communication studies major with an emphasis in Public Relations and Advertising and minor in Psychology and a certificate in Leadership Studies
Deal is very active in campus life and her sorority Delta Zeta. Throughout her four years she’s learned how important self-acceptance is.
“I would tell my freshman year self that it’s okay to not be perfect,” Deal said. “You will find people who love and support you with all your flaws. It’s also okay to not always have a plan and to just figure life out as it comes.”
Deal won’t be leaving FHSU anytime soon as she plans to attend graduate school at Fort Hays in the organizational communication program.
Megan Jaminson – Elementary Education major and minor in Spanish
Jaminson learned college isn’t about being perfect, but a place to try new things and be bold.
“I would tell myself to enjoy the little moments and cherish the laughs. It’s not all about the big stuff, it’s about the small moments with friends and the good times. I would tell myself that I’ve got this and I can get this degree,” Jaminson said. “People aren’t going to remember the one thing you said that one time, they’re gonna remember your personality, how you presented yourself and how you were with other people. College taught me that it’s important to feel confident in who you are and everything you do.”
Jaminson’s bubbly personality will translate well as she plans to start her teaching career at Windsor Elementary in Colorado as a third-grade teacher.
John Egan – Finance major
Egan spent his past four years with an intention of cultivating connections with people. On-campus, most people might agree that John would meet you with a huge smile and hello.
“What I would tell freshman John: Be involved as much as possible on campus and in the community. There are so many opportunities to meet new people and make lifelong friends,” he said. “I’d also probably tell my freshman year self to not gain the freshman 35 in one semester… although it is funny looking back on pictures.”
Egan’s favorite memories have been anything involving him and close friends.
“Whether that be bonfires, playing spikeball, yard games, intramurals, movie night or going out – especially Rose Thursday’s – I’m grateful for all of it,” Egan said. “As Barney Stinson said, ‘Whatever you do in this life, it’s not legendary unless your friends are there to see it.’”
Egan’s future plans include an internship this summer for Travelers in their Operations Leadership Development Program. Then he’ll be returning back to FHSU in the fall to take classes directly related to his professional work before he spends the spring backpacking in Europe for 60 days.
Britta Coleman – Geology major with an emphasis in Environmental Studies
Coleman is pursuing her passion for the environment in any way she can.
“My four years at Fort Hays State have taught me to have passion for whatever you do,” Coleman said. “Whether it’s your major or your friends, have passion for what you do and who you’re with.”
Ellea Ediger – Finance with an emphasis in financial planning
Kansas native Ediger hopes to use what she’s learned over these previous four years at her new job at Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC Financial Group.
“I’ve loved my four years at FHSU and have made the absolute most of it. I have met the most amazing people and friends that I will have forever – including the author of this article,” Ediger said. “If there’s something I could’ve told my freshman self – it’s to be the person who always listens and acknowledges others. You know the people who always ask you how you’re doing even though you’ve met them once? Be one of those people. And make an early impression on your professors. You’re not being a suck-up, they want to hear from you.”
Diane Nunez – Geosciences-Geography
“Don’t be afraid to change your major. I think there is a preconceived notion that if you start with a major you should finish it and that’s not the case. I think college is all about growth and realizing what you do or don’t like and if you want to explore other majors you should,” Nunez said. “The potential for it to be anything I want to make it. My college experience is for me, my path, and my future, and I can shape it any way I want. Society makes it so important to define yourself by what you major in or where you go to school, but I prefer to see it as a chance to better myself and explore what is most interesting to me. It gives me the power to become whoever I want to be.”
Nunez will be returning to FHSU in the fall to pursue her master’s in medical geography.
“The biggest lesson college has taught is to not be afraid to ask for help. This actually took me a really long time to get used to because I am a very independent person. I used to think that if I asked for help whether that be for classes or for mental health reasons I would be looked down [on],” Nunez said “Which is not the case because it takes a lot more to ask for help and being vulnerable. It’s okay not that you aren’t perfect at everything, ask for help if you need it.”
Carmen Fanning – Biology major with Spanish minor
And finally, as the author of this article, I couldn’t help but reminisce over the past four years with my fellow senior classmates.
It’s cliche, but these last four years have really flown by. It’s not too long ago I was a small, nervous and awkward freshman. I would tell my younger self to fully express herself and go after the things she wants, to be her unapologetic self and encourage her to try new things.
I would tell her to literally meet anyone and everyone, beautiful connections can be made out of the most insane circumstances. College has taught me so much and brought me some of my favorite people ever. I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything.”
I plan to combine my major, minor and love for writing and utilize it in the Health Policy field to work as an advocate for oppressed groups.
I find myself going back to the infamous song Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. “Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is going to be alright.” With every obstacle we encountered these last four years, we overcame.
What feels like the end is often the beginning. Congratulations class of 2021!