Last week I refreshed my UMich Gmail account to find an unread message I had seen many times before—Michael Zakalik was in my inbox once again. As Writing minors, we’ve all been receiving emails from him for a few years now, but this particular Google Form was different: Paragraph Reflection of Your Time at Michigan and Future Plans/Goals.
How did we get here?
Throughout my short, yet ever-eventful, twenty-two years of life, I have faced many challenges. Whether they be psychological, emotional, health-related, or academic—the world has thrown many a challenge my way. As I’ve explored through my Capstone Project, all of these challenges seemed to have boiled to one thing more than most other factors: self-love and lack-there-of. For far too long, I have used alternate means to mask the pain I have caused myself. I have left that burden to fall on others and isolated myself because of it. In doing so, while it may have shielded the pain for a short amount of time, I ultimately did myself a great disservice.
In this next stage of life, I hope to continue to learn more about myself as I grow in new environment. Despite the challenges that I fully expect to come my way as life continues on, I hope to be resilient and take time for myself. By calling attention to the way I feel in each moment, I hope to rectify the blame I have placed on others for the majority of my life. Looking back on college, I know I have changed; I know I have improved. But I have also taken steps backward. There is still so much to learn.
So as Michael asks, what are my goals?
“It is impossible to quantify just how much I have grown in these past four years at the University of Michigan. I enrolled as a numbers student who once flinched at the mere thought of writing in any capacity and am leaving driven by all forms of written communication. I am looking forward to spending the summer months at home with family in Los Angeles. Come August, I will be joining the Anheuser-Busch organization where I will spend the first eight months of my employment traveling throughout the United States. While I am excited for what the next phase of my life has to offer, I am forever grateful for the lasting friendships I have made here at Michigan in the wonderful town of Ann Arbor. Forever and always, go blue!”