Friends, mentors deserve gratitude

Araceli Esparza, Editor in Chief

Beatle John Lennon once said “life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”

As this is my final column for the entirety of my undergraduate career, I have had some time to reflect on that thought-on what the past three and a half years at the University of La Verne have meant to me. I have had the opportunity, moreover, to take a step back and look at the people and experiences of ULV who have led me to this very moment.

I came to La Verne in fall 1996 with a sense of reservation, naïvete and determination for what would become the next few years of my life. My expectations of higher education convinced me that endless study sessions and an acquired dependence on caffeine would make up the better part of this college experience.

My initial vision was to excel in academics and nothing else. I never knew, nor could I imagine, that the true college experience would result from the lessons learned outside of the classroom-through friends, family and especially student activities.

Therefore, rather than embarking on many farewells (because I will still be around next semester), there is a need for tremendous gratitude to be given to those who have helped mold and influence me.

First and foremost, I am extremely gracious to God for allowing me the privilege to open my eyes and begin another day every morning.

It is routine to go through each moment without thinking about what will happen next. But the people who surround me, by their own love and support, have reassured me of the belief that life is beyond beautiful. It is indeed blessed.

These blessings include my parents, whom I thank for supporting and nurturing me during my time at this University. Rather than being critical of the times in which I wanted to simply go home and sleep off the previous week, for example, my parents covered me with blankets or turned down the television to make sure I rested comfortably.

Simple acts like this are not only valuable; they are appreciated. And I am not sure if my family realizes how much this institution has influenced me and how much I have grown as a result of its opportunities. My only hope is that I have made them proud in my endeavors.

Then there is this publication, the Campus Times – that is, the Times as an organization of people who work diligently for the sake of creating a weekly newspaper. The Campus Times has meant everything to me since I became a part of it in Spring 1997. In fact, I cannot even remember the time before I fell in love with this newspaper and before its creators eventually became my life.

Every individual who has been part of the Campus Times (or the entire Communications Department, for that matter) has blessed me to some extent or another. Professors have served as mentors whose constructive feedback has guided me as student, while the dedication and comfort of friends and peers has encouraged me to keep coming back – week after week, deadline after deadline.

I never understood my capabilities as a student leader and as a journalist, but the encouragement and support with which these individuals have provided me has given me confidence. I owe my gratitude and appreciation to these people. Thank you for believing in me.

As I step down from my position and now hand this publication over to my colleagues, a personal feeling of sadness and emptiness is to be expected. But there is a greater sense that the Times was probably the epitome of my ULV career and that I have learned to accept it is over.

Also deserving of thanks are the beautiful women (and Don Morel, its male adviser) who make up Iota Delta sorority. Through this organization, I have discovered my real self. I have found a person who has overcome her own intimidations and, in the process, has also learned to face the future head on.

Letting go and moving forward has not been that easy; it never has been. As long as I continue to count these blessings, I will be just fine.

And while I take in every moment, my life may take a new direction … even if I continue making other plans.

Araceli Esparza, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at esparzaa@ulv.edu.

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