Illinois. What can I say about Illinois. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Growing up, in my mind, it had such a stigma attached to it. I didn’t think I was good enough for it. I was too good for it. What could it possibly have to offer me? I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me I would have two master’s degrees from this institution. That I would spend 4 years here total. That CU would be the closest thing to a home I’ve felt in years. In ever. My first adult home.
I fell in love here once upon a time. I’ve learned a lot about myself. About what I want in people, in food, in life. In that love. What I want in my professional life. What I expect from the trials and tribulations I endure. I became myself here. I found myself here. I challenged myself and exceeded my expectations here. I also let myself down. Disappointed myself. I forgave myself. Understood myself. I’ve made some of my best friends here. And I’ve forgotten some of the worst. I don’t know for sure where I’ll go from here, but I’ll always carry a little bit of Illinois with me wherever I go. Thank you, Illinois. Thank you for everything. Thank you for teaching me about myself.