Three seniors just spent the last four years of their lives pursuing higher education. There have been many lessons learned and plenty of growth made.
Hear from them in their own words, their feelings around graduation, their advice to new students and what lies in the next chapters of their life.
Graduation is a huge accomplishment, the feelings surrounding it can be mixed with nerves, excitement or even nostalgia.
Cielo Perez, 23, is graduating with a pharmaceutical science major.
“I feel like a lot more excited than I thought I should be,” said Perez.
Ruby Fulford, 21, is graduating with an astronomy major and three minors: physics, astrobiology and biology.
“To actually graduate, I’d say I’m very excited because I’m proud of how much I have accomplished over the last four years,” said Fulford.
Olivia Lee-Daily, 21, is graduating with a political science major, with an emphasis in law and public studies and a minor in Africana studies.
“It’s weird — I don’t feel anything, like that sounds really bad, but I feel like it hasn’t hit me yet,” said Lee-Daily.
Four years is a long time. When asked to summarize their time at UA in only a few words or phrases, the answers varied from “fast food,” said Lee-Daily, to “eye-opening,” said both Perez and Fulford.
Independence, adventurous, social, passionate, challenging, growth and community were among some of the other words used to encapsulate these three seniors' time at UA.
These students have learned so much through their experiences, and they each have unique advice to share.
“it’s okay to not have everything figured out. If there’s something you’re good at, just go for it, be passionate about it and help others and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Perez said.
“Don’t let yourself stress out too much. In terms of the social side of things, I would say just concentrate on finding people that you can actually be yourself around, that you actually like spending time with … keep looking for those people, and when you find them appreciate them,” Fulford said.
“Enjoy every single second of your undergrad, enjoy from freshman year all the way up to the end of senior year because I promise you, four years sounds like a long time, but I genuinely feel like I started my freshman year a year ago. Time goes so quickly and it doesn’t hit you until you’re done, and you don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone,” Lee-Daily said.
“Go do stuff you didn’t think you’d ever do before, go take classes that don’t interest you and go make friends with people you think maybe won’t like you and take that trip for spring break,” Lee-Daily added.
University is an adventure, a whole new chapter, and it’s clear that these seniors are already looking back at their time at UA fondly. Post-graduation is a time of endless possibilities. There are lots of exciting plans for their futures.
Perez is pursuing her doctor of pharmacy this fall 2022 at UA, and she will be pursuing her concert photography passion with a freelance internship with ColourVision Magazine.
Fulford is beginning a job as a research technician for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission right here in Tucson. It’s a collaboration between UA and NASA, they are working to collect a sample from an asteroid and bring it back to Earth.
Lee-Daily is pursuing her two-year master's degree in international affairs at John Hopkins University. She is going into her SAIS Europe program, where she will be studying in Bologna, Italy.
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Maayan Cohen (she/her) is an Opinions reporter and a sophomore majoring in digital journalism. In her free time, you can find her trying new recipes, going to a thrift store or creating art.