Senior Farewell: Karina Barajas

Dear fellow Lawrentians,

I have been writing for The Lawrentian for four years, and every year I end with a farewell to the seniors. This time, I will be graduating. I wanted to say a final farewell to Lawrence and all the memories I have made here.

First, I want to say farewell to all the students, professors and staff who have supported me throughout my journey. I started writing for the Features section my freshman year, writing articles about different events on campus. By junior year I had my first column, “Hidden Figures,” where I got to meet the wonderful staff who work behind the scenes to make our college experience the “Lawrence Difference.” 

Senior year I started a new column called “Work It!” where other students shared their work experiences that prepare them for the real world outside the “bubble.” I learned to have an interest in other people’s lives and their answers have changed the way I view the world.

My first memory of Lawrence was prospective student day. I had stayed overnight with a student host. I remember taking tours and sitting in on classes. The highlight of my visit happened unexpectedly. I was sitting on the front steps of what I didn’t know was President Burstein’s office, processing what to do with all the information that was thrown at me that day. 

I was overwhelmed because I could not imagine I would get to go out of state for college. A butterfly landed on my shoulder. Butterflies tend to represent change, and I knew at that point my life was about to change. I knew in that moment Lawrence would be my new home for the next four years.

I began freshman year undecided about my major, and now I will walk across the stage to earn my bachelor’s degree in English. I was quiet and unsure of myself, but through writing for ***the Lawrentian***, working in the theatre scene shop and as a writing tutor, I met so many amazing people and my comfort zone was shattered. 

I admit there were times when I came home to no one, longed for the sounds and smells of home and ate dinner by myself. In those moments by myself I became stronger and learned to be comfortable in my own company. 

But I also learned how to have friendships. Even though friends come and go, the one person who always stays by your side is yourself. Sometimes you may lose yourself in all the stress and business of everyday life, and those times of solitude will help you breathe. 

I have to say, I never pulled an all-nighter my whole college career. But for the seniors who have, good riddance to all-nighters. Goodbye to all the laughs and tears we have shared with our friends. Goodbye Freshman Studies. Goodbye Plato. Goodbye senior capstones and 25-page essays. 

Goodbye convocations and visiting artists. Goodbye 10th week blues. Goodbye spring snowstorms. Goodbye river bugs! Through the thick and thin, we have survived it all, and knowing that we have survived so much together individually, we can take on anything in life!

“Where are you going to college?” was the classic question I was often asked coming out of high school. As I leave college, the question has changed to, “What will you do with your life?” I used to fear that question, because I had no idea. 

I went into college with the expectation that by the time I graduated I would know exactly who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go. Now that I am graduating, I realize the answer will never be definitive. 

Some of the most important lessons Lawrence has taught me include not limiting myself to one thing, but rather trying new things, challenging myself and questioning everything. I will go forth into the world with a liberal arts education which has taught me to think critically and adapt to any situation. The world is at my fingertips! 

To be honest, I do not know what I will be doing after Lawrence, nor where life will take me, but I know in my heart I will always be a Lawrentian. I hope that as class of 2019 we all come back as alumni with success in all our endeavors and willingness to share our experiences with the new generation of Lawrentians.

Cheers to class of 2019! We did it!

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