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Dear Rutgers

My little brother texted me today to say that my diploma arrived in the mail. I feel like this is the definite end to my undergraduate years. I thought I would write down my feelings for the past four years of my life as a way to sum it all up.

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Dear Rutgers,

The past four years have been interesting to say the least. You have allowed me to grow as a person through different challenges and joys. I would not be where I am today or the person I am today if I did not chose to spend four years of my life there.

During freshman year I met some amazing people that made the transition from high school to college fun and interesting. Whether it was pregaming to “We Can’t Stop” or “Gas Pedal” or going to my Physic TA’s offices hours every single week, I made it through a year of being completely away from my family, friends, and home. I was always a little sad to go back to Chicago because I started to feel like I was home at Rutgers. It was this year that taught me I do not have to be near family to feel at home. Home is the people you surround yourself with.

I was so excited to come back for sophomore year. I was finally going to take specific engineering classes instead of the general ones. That fall semester was the one that introduced to Packaging Engineering and I have not looked back since. Since that first class, I was intrigued with packaging and ended up switching my major within weeks of school starting. With all of the amazing opportunities packaging offered, I never thought I would meet some of the amazing people I did. When people I considered to be my “best friends” ended up turning on me, I was able to turn to my friends in packaging who were there to pick me up when I needed it. These were the people I would spend the rest of my college career with.

Junior year was were I felt like an “adult” by moving off campus. It was the first time I had to cook for myself for all of my meals and my own apartment (even if I had 7 other roommates). This was the year I really delved into packaging. The summer leading up to and throughout the entire year I got to have my first real world experience of being a packaging engineer. I was able to work at Shiseido, a cosmetics company in Central New Jersey. I learned so much from all of the coworkers and ended up with enough makeup for years lol. Shiseido gave me the confidence to know that I would succeed in packaging.

I was also picked to work on a case study project that took me to Las Vegas. Although we did not win, placing in third place was a nice way to have all of the hard work rewarded. Las Vegas is also where The Pope Squad (I name my packaging friends and I came up with) started and I don’t think junior year would have had has many laughs without those 4 girls.

Senior year started on a crazy note. I was working full time and taking classes two nights a week in order to be a full time student. With all of that going on, I somehow managed to meet Alex who is The One and has brightened my days ever since. I lived in a house with 7 roommates again and although some were huge pains in the butt, I lived with Sarah who has become one of my best and closest friends. Without the two of them, I truly don’t know how I would have managed the past year.

Senior year also gave me the opportunity to travel. I was lucky enough to be one of 7 students picked to go to France for a week to work on a project with French students. Without this opportunity, I would not have been able to visit Paris and Switzerland with my friend Maggie (from the Pope Squad!) The was an amazing time and I am forever grateful.

So Rutgers, it appears our time together is through. I don’t know how I will feel come fall once I see younger students going back to school. I don’t think I’ll miss any exams or projects but I will miss you. I’ll miss the campus with the mix of 251 years of history and new modern buildings. I’ll miss every amazing opportunity I was given. I’ll miss the way you (and God) brought people into my life and took them out of my life when I no longer needed them. At the time I may not have understood, but now I see it was leading me to where and who I am today.

Thank you for showing me how strong of I person I am by allowing my 18 year old self to grow into a 21 year old with a full time job and more hopes and dreams now than when I was a little girl playing dress up.

I’m sure I will be back soon but I know it won’t be the same.

Love,

Maureen

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