Caffeine and degrees: senior send-off

Ashlynn Harding, Editor in Chief

   Less than a week, less than seven cups of coffee, less than seven nights and seven hours of sleep for seniors. Graduation has arrived! A mixture of feelings overwhelms me as my four years in high school and 13 years in my hometown come to an end. 

   I’m not going far, but my mind will. College is a huge step in the beginning stages  of my adulting life: leaving home, making new friends and living in a new place. It’s scary and totally freaks me out, but one thing I’ve learned from growing up in Louisa is that I’ll never go through it alone. 

   My mom is my biggest supporter and pushes me to accomplish all of my goals. Yes, I procrastinate and have an attitude sometimes. But she does so much for me and I can not express enough how much respect and gratitude I have for her. The most frequent comment I get about my looks is that I look just like my mother. When I was younger, it really used to bug me. Now that I am looking back, I don’t see why I got so upset. It’s the greatest compliment I could receive. My mom is a strong, hardworking, independent woman who deserves all the praise in the world for dealing with her three kids while working two jobs. I am proud to be my mother’s daughter, and I am honored to hold even the slightest bit of resemblance to her. I just want to thank her for everything she does and has done for me. As her youngest and “favorite” child, I know she will be sad for me to leave. But, I want her to know I will be just fine. After all, I do take after my mom with her persistence, dedication and determination.

   While my closest friends and I have known each other for years, we only all get together about a few times a year. We laugh and cry and fight and smile, but that’s what best friends are for. We may bicker and annoy each other to the core sometimes, but we love each other so much and have the best memories together. They have helped me through the good and the bad and I am grateful to know that when I come home from college I can rely on them to be there for me. To my closest and dearest friends, thank you for the inside jokes, the wonderful memories and time spent together. I hope we continue to have fun in the future. 

   Friends and family are like a good cup of coffee: warm, inviting and dependable. Throughout my time in school, I have gone to spots near my home to get my morning and sometimes even an afternoon cup of coffee and the moments spent there are my most enjoyable memories. The community has connected me with multiple opportunities throughout my coffee runs. I have met new people, had job interviews and numerous talks with my closest friends. As coffee is my comfort drink, nothing compares to the memories given to me by the cup handed out. From coffee runs and private adventures to clearing my head, the taste never changes and the feeling never strays away from comfort and satisfaction. That’s how I feel growing up in Louisa. I feel at home. But the good thing about coffee is that it’s interchangeable, and as I embark on my new journey I know coffee will be with me through every stage.

   These feelings of nerves and excitement will stay with me probably until I am settled in at school. So for my future life at JMU, just know I am ready to go on my own way. For my friends, family and community, thank you for the unconditional support and good times. As the graduation countdown narrows, I am starting to realize how much I will miss my home town and everyone in it. Again, thank you to everyone who has been an influence on my life. Thank you to my current and past teachers for guiding my mind and allowing me to grow in and out of school. Thank you to my siblings for teaching me to bounce back from difficult situations allowing me to learn and walk in your footsteps. Thank you Mom. Thank you friends. Thank you Louisa. And congratulations to the class of 2023!