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I waited until the last possible opportunity to take my usage and grammar test, required to receive a diploma from the School of Media and Journalism — procrastination at its finest.  It was the morning after Senior bar-golf… so you can imagine how I felt that morning.  I missed passing by two points.  This meant that I would have to come back to UNC to retake the test next year when I come back from Australia. Considering home is Texas, and Texas is certainly not close to Chapel Hill or North Carolina or even the East Coast, the questions flooding my mind were unrelenting … When was I going to come back to North Carolina solely to take this test again? What was I going to do without my degree?! What else could I do? I hit the panic button.

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Apparently, I am far from the only senior who procrastinated, so they created a whole other testing date to accommodate us.

This time, I did not stay out until 3 a.m. gallivanting all over Chapel Hill, looking for food and friends and a reprieve from the future, the night prior to the test.  This time I sat in my room for hours going over all the grammar rules I had learned freshman year and forgotten since then —  the tedious rules that no one can tell apart.

I had a quick emotional catharsis as I started to think about all the things I had piling up in the next few days: the usage and grammar test; my British literature final (at least eight hours of studying); my political science final (right after my English test); a broadcast package (at least three hours of work); and then ten more blogs (at least five hours). It was overwhelming. Emotional. Intense. I panicked, and I cried… so, so much. And all that’s on top of moving out of my room completely in ten days, subleasing my room for the next two months, selling my furniture, sending boxes back home, packing for Australia, getting ~soccer fit~, and trying to spend any extra time with the friends and teammates I spent the last four years of my life with before I left with no plans of seeing them again. I cried some more — just a few more minutes — and finally recollected myself to begin studying.

The next day was LDOC.  The Last Day of Classes.  As a senior, this day means a lot more than it did all the times before. I walked in to the test with more nerves than ever: this was THE LAST CHANCE.

Good thing I passed. I nodded my head at Marla, the Journalism advisor that I had come to know the last couple years, when she asked whether I passed with a questionable look on her face and two thumbs up.  Yes.  It was a yes nod this time. Last week at this exact time it was  a defeated side to side shake of my head.  She came right over to me and gave me a hug.  Marla has never touched me. She has never hugged me.  It made me smile, that she was so genuinely happy for me that she hugged me.  “You can go to Australia stress-free now,” she smiled at me.

I thought of Marla as I bounded upstairs to meet my friends for a senior breakfast, nothing more than an obligatory catch-and-eat sort of breakfast. But even then, I was surprised — my friends Brendan and Rachael and a few other people I can’t even remember ALL asked how I’d done — I hadn’t told them in days I was taking it, but they still remembered, still cared, still took the time and courtesy and attention to check up on me. So like I did with Marla, I beamed at them and shared the good news — and their reaction was the same: hugs; high-pitched squeals of ‘Congrats!’ and other monikers. Again, these people owed me nothing and they’d still not only remembered me, but gone out of their ways to make me feel appreciated and accomplished.

That’s a tough feeling to describe. I would say I was overwhelmed again, only this time, by a completely opposite flood of emotions: love for my community; appreciation for my friends; respect for all my peers and advisors and professors here in the School of Media & Journalism. For years they’ve supported me, bent over backwards to help me with schedules or late-night homework or last-second editing — and only now, on the morning that I’d finished one of my last ever assignments in this building, I finally realized it.

And now I realize how much I’m going to miss it.

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