On Saturday morning, I embarked on a 10-hour adventure from Geneva, NY back home to Los Angeles, CA. The trip required me to wake up at 3 AM, then drive myself to the Rochester airport, and then finally hope on 2 planes until I made it home. I am utterly jet lagged. Yet, I have not tried to compensate for my tiredness with any caffeine. Why? Because that's a rabbit hole that leads to endless swipes at Starbucks and one pissed Momma Samayoa.
Today is Mother's Day and also the Hobart and William Smith Colleges 2018 Commencement. After wishing my mom and grandma a happy Mother's Day, I crawled back into bed, still tired as hell and trying not to go back to sleep, to watch the livestream of the graduation ceremony. Despite knowing so many of the amazing seniors who walked across the stage, I did not get too emotional. I did get a little teary eyed, but I felt more proud than I did feel sad seeing them strut off the stage. I have a few theories on why I may have seemed a bit stoic.
1. I know this isn't the last time I'll see my seniors. The class of 2018 has a special place in my heart because many of them acted like the older siblings I never had. Some I met as a first-year at HWS, and others even came at the end of my junior year. Regardless of when I met them, I know that I'm a person who looks for meaningful connections. I'm not interested in just filling up my LinkedIn profile, I want you following me on Instagram too. (That's a pretty big deal by the way.)
2. I saw them through most of it. Cliche coming up: College changes you. I know I matured, even went immature, in the 3 years I've had at school. I've seen so many of these seniors blossom from being little chicken nuggets, to now a full-course entree. Being there with them through that change has made me so proud.
3. I think I'm low-key traumatized. Let me explain this one. So over the summer, I lost my chihuahua Princess (#RIPPuppy) and our dog Peggy saw the cadaver. Peggy looked at it, smelled it, then strutted away a few steps before she puked and began shaking. She didn't eat for two days and she was shivering all the time. Even after my grandma put on her red little jacket, diva dog. I think I could be not feeling anything because I'm avoiding the reality that now it is my turn to join the battle to be king of the quad.
I remember that before I started my junior spring semester I was scared. My biggest fear was that I missed all that important social building energy that seems to saturate the fall semester. But, I guess that it really doesn't matter when you go abroad, because I came and made dozens of friendships that I could never have imagined. I even managed to connect with people who were gone! There was something about being in England that inherently taught me how to enter a room and be the most interesting person there. Coming back, I felt so many open arms eager to both meet me and get to know me better.
Friends became best-friends and best-friends proved to be family. Now if only my family could line up for a photo as well these people do.
My junior year is definitely a year I'm proud of. From traveling the world, to going to the Oscars, and literally pulling up on a catamaran, I don't think this year could have treated me better. However, I know I could have treated a lot of things better. I'm a person who can get easily flustered. Not getting my way is my vice, but it was through tension and turmoil in this semester that I saw how strong some people are and how weak I can be at times. So, along with having some highs in my life, the lows are also something I'm grateful for.
I'm able to move into my summer knowing my strengths, like relationship building and crafting stories, and my weaknesses, like impatience or being adamant. This summer will be the ultimate test of Will not as a character, but as a full fledged person. Junior year was my platform to preach about how great I am. Summer 2018 is my chance to practice what I preach.
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.