I’m embarking on the final semester of my college career, and the one thing that has been constant recently is reflecting.

Reflection has never been my strong suit. I’ve always looked ahead, onto the next task, goal, or location. 

There was almost never a point where I stopped and thought about how far I’ve come. A time where I sat in the present and did not think about the future.  

Is this new momentary time of contemplation going to be a shift in my life? I really doubt that, but it’s been something I really should strive to incorporate into my life. 

Poetry though has been one of the only ways I reflect, since the art discovered me on that cool September day during my senior year of high school. When I went to an afters-chool program, run by Youth and Opportunity United, with two of my closest friends at the time. 

There were two poets who gave students a space to explore this form of writing and it clicked with me almost instantly. It turned into a number of opportunities, including a published book of poems and a chance to perform at the Poetry Foundation Library in northern Chicago. 

I’ve been writing poetry on and off ever since, some of it for special occasions, but also as a way to let my thoughts and feelings flow somewhere. 

As I leave college and move into the so-called “real world,” I feel ready to take on challenges and strive for my goals. The memories of college will stay with me. 

So in that spirit, I’m going to wrap this up with a poem I wrote about what college has meant to me. 

The joy of getting into the line of cars unloading things as giddy students meet their life long friends for the first time on that warm Saturday afternoon in August. 

The first roar of the crowd on that evening as the stands are full and the pitch is buzzing, ready for Maple Leaf action. 

The cool breeze as the wind sweeps through the rolled down windows on the first Walmart run of the year. 

The adrenaline rush that runs the length of the body as the fader slides up right before the first word is muttered over the radio waves. 

The buzzing of a classroom in the few minutes before class begins.

The happiness as conversations fly and dissipate while enjoying a meal in the cafeteria. 

The satisfaction after finishing a hard paper, knowing the work that was put in to make it feel just right. 

The coming gratitude sitting in the gym on the day of graduation as each name is called and it closes the door on one chapter, but opens one anew.