Graduation: Conclusion & Picture Journey

I will miss my new friends Charis and Lydia

As great as it is that Kayla was around this year, it is not quite the same as having friends that are still students, who still live in dorms and have classes like you. Queue the unexpected but amazing senior-year friendship with Charis and Lydia.

In August, I snuck back a week early for an interview, and as I illegally moved my stuff into a vacationing summer scholar’s room, Lydia was the first person I ran into.

Sophomore year, we shared all of about one interaction, mainly because I was utterly intimidated by her. I assumed Lydia was several years older than me and way out of my friend league. She is tall, slender, and half-Japanese, her signature Asian features accentuated by dark eye shadow and high bronzed cheek bones. She is model status. Since she grew up in Manhattan, Lydia’s style typically comprises a black, city-chic look, and when she walks past your table in Commons, she seems to gracefully float along. From a distance, all of this seems to add up to total bi-otch status.

So Lydia the summer RA catches me moving my stuff in before I’m supposed to, and I think she will handle the situation like the bi-otch I assume she is. But I have Lydia totally wrong. She is still beautiful, but after one authentic interaction, the pretentious façade I incorrectly sensed shatters. Lydia is cheerful and unassuming. She is a klutzy goofball. I explain my situation, and she just shrugs with a smile and motions the zipping of her lips. “Your secret’s safe with me.”

Thus began the unanticipated friendship of Jessica and Lydia. Even though I was crazy busy fall semester, I liked Lydia and wanted to get to know her, so I asked her if we could grab a meal together once a week. We began meeting every Tuesday morning, and we learned a lot from each other. We talked about our families, boys, our transformative time abroad, and the everyday stress of school. Not too long after, we just started hanging out spontaneously. Lydia was my saving grace of first semester.

Charis and I had known each other since the canoe trip freshman year. She had even considered asking me to be her roommate. We always liked each other and talked about how we knew we had the potential to be closer friends, but somehow we never spent enough quality time to actually become those friends. I don’t exactly remember how it happened, but sometime around November or December, we finally changed that. Charis is a gem – calm, confident, and kind. Soon, Charis, Lydia, and I became a tight-knit trio, and I, forever the friend-group floater, finally knew what it felt like to have close, dependable buddies in college. Rather than running in and out of Commons, I actually consistently shared hour-long meals with these two. I often bemoaned this past semester that we all did not become friends sooner. Though that would have been nice, the reality is that we were all in very different places in the past. As we changed and found our own way, senior year really was the first time we could have hit it off.

Make new friends, and keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.

I am grateful for the year we had together. Kayla might be my gold friend, but you two are my silver ones. Thank you for such a great year!

Charis, me, and Lydia

I will miss Miller Hall

…and generally the high-caliber liberal arts academic environment here at Roanoke College. The relationships I have with my professors is probably best reflected in the fact that I have spent more time at the bar with them than I have with my peers. The English folks in Miller Hall particularly have always championed and supported me.

Jenny Rosti, your American Literature class in the fall of 2011 is what convinced me to major in Literary Studies. Paul Hanstedt, you challenged me to try creative writing; Cambodia changed my life. And of course, I am directly indebted to both of you for helping me with the Rotary scholarship. Mike Heller, you showed me the value of pursuing peace and justice. Dr. Larson-Harris, I’ll never forget John Donne. Ken McGraw, you showed me the many interpretations of The Awakening and “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Also, thanks for always doing that over a beer. Dr. Whiteside, Shakespeare is still in first place (though Gorboduc is not). Most of all, my English education would not be as thorough or well-rounded without Dr. Stewart and the Seminar crew. I love that when we met at Doo’s after the final exam, we continued to talk about literature. Not because we were stuck in class and we had to, but because we love it and have a passion for it. Thank you for your research, your opinions, and your hard work. We’ve got a kickass English department, and I am honored to have been a part of it.

Jenny Rosti – American Lit and scholarship extraordinaire
Dr. Stewart
“Snack” break the Seminar way


People make a place meaningful and memorable. Reflecting back, I think of all the great students that are on this campus after all. I will miss my residents and other RC friends*. I can’t believe I won’t see my second family, the Yertons, regularly anymore, and I’m sad to say goodbye to the folks at Restoration Church, too. I will miss ceramics; it was challenging, but I really, really enjoyed learning how to throw on the wheel. I will miss eating prepared meals in Commons. I especially will miss the little financial responsibility I have had to bear as a college student (though I will not miss the miniscule paycheck). But I am okay leaving all of those. I can go back and visit the people, and I knew the other things were part of the college stage of life. I am ready to “grow up” and pay rent, buy groceries and cook for myself, and not live in a contained campus bubble. Real world, here I come!
*Shout out to Annie, Kristen, and Liz; Elsa, Lilly, Griffin; Daniel, Ted, Alex, Ben, Wes, and Phillip; Mariana and Miriam; Seminar; Shaina, Courtney, Emma, Sarah, Grace, Brandy, Emily…really the whole honors crew (you too Dr. Hakk!). Nick, you graduated in December, but I’ve missed you tons this semester. And Janie and Maria, still bitter that you transferred, but I would not know you without Roanoke. I’m grateful for our Christ-sealed sisterhood.

Picture Journey

And now…the play-by-play highlights of my college career. I could have never anticipated all that has happened spurring on my growth and development these last four years. Reflecting back, I am glad for all of it. The good parts have been amazing, the tough parts, I suppose what they call “character building.” So long Roanoke. Thank you for the education and transformative experiences you have provided.
Freshman Year 


R House and Dr.Hakk’s Orientation Group/Honors Class
Catawba Challenge
Pre-Prez Ball
Short but beloved Young Life stint
Maria came to Charleston for Spring Break
Easter in Damascus
Summer 2012
Camp St. Christopher Staff
Lake Champion YL Camp
Whistler and Vancouver, Canada
Sophomore Year
Mama’s Obligatory First Day of School Pic
Cascade Falls, Family Weekend (Plus Timothy & Nick)
November: Surprised my sisters for their state cross country meet
Shootin’ & Stompin’ Weekend in Damascus
New Orleans Habitat for Humanity Alternative Winter Break
Spring Break: Bermuda Baby!

Summer 2013

May Term: Cambodia
Costa Rica with the Compton Clan

Junior Year

(Aka Best Year Ever)

Fall: Studying Abroad in Italy
Perugia, Gelato, and awesome apartment mates


Golden Friends
Abby, Tracey, Mariah


Parents visit over fall break


Straight Travelin’ G


Favorite weekend trip: Hands down the Dolomites
Amazing Gals

Spring Term: Washington, D.C.

Supreme Court Selfie


City-wide Snowball fight at Dupont Circle


Valentine’s Day:
Weekend Whitaker to NYC
Standing for Freedom at IJM
Heather, also golden friend status
Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin


Summer 2014
Shenandoah Backpacking with Wesley
Working at Old South
Cruisin with Ma
Art and Wedding Showers


NC Backpacking with Cain, Hannah and Bennett


Best Wedding Weekend Ever
#ComptonsConquer Colorado
Senior Year


Homework. Lots of it.


Fall Break in Boston
Abby, Chris, Sarah (& Baby Samuel!)


Lots of Facetime with this vagabond


…until I got to be with him in real life


Honors O group three years later
Winter Break: Calitalia with Mariah and Tracey


Kinky Boots in Houston
Spring Break: Breckenridge
Loved Ceramics



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