I just finished my last-ever fall semester as an undergraduate student. How did that happen? The holiday season is usually my time to get all mushy and emotional anyway, but add to that the inevitable nostalgia I feel when going through major life changes, and you’ve got Katlyn choked up pretty much perpetually. It’s amazing to think back to three years ago when I was living in a residence hall, my friendship still new with the other two Spartan Grandmas.


As the years have gone by, my Spartan family has grown and my experiences have been many. It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ll be graduating in (less than) five months– that I’m working on my senior thesis, dreaming up designs for my college graduation cap, filling out an application for a master’s degree program. Whoa.


Sometimes it feels like just weeks ago that my friend Alison made a goofy face at me across the circle at our first floor meeting, or that I was splitting a bag of chocolate scraps with Emma in Italy, or falling out of a tree meeting Boyfriend for the first time, or having my first beer, or surviving the polar vortex. The time my undergraduate career has spanned feels long when I consider the amount of things I’ve done or the amount of time that’s passed, but short when I consider how much more I would do if I had the time, money, and resources. This place has become my home, and the thought of getting ready to “move out” has filled me with a lot of mixed emotions: excitement, apprehension, pride, and maybe a little uncertainty, too.

Leaving home means leaving your family, to a degree. Your support system changes and is oftentimes harder to access, but it’s still there. Mama Sue is trying hard to be chill with one of the most obvious manifestations of this change– Boyfriend and I won’t be in town on Christmas Day. But that doesn’t make the familial bond we share any less special or strong whether I’m in Michigan or Minnesota or Wisconsin or California. The way we access it just changes.

Coping with change has never been my favorite thing to do, but the reality is that the only thing certain about life is its tendency to uncertainty and consistent change. Freshman Katlyn is vastly different from Senior Katlyn, but one thing that has always remained is my ability to reach out to a community of people who love me. In fact, the only thing that’s really changed about that is the size:


From the two Spartan Grandmas who were two of my closest friends, I have found many other members of my Spartan family who have been there through all of my experiences, good and bad. I guess it’s fitting that my nostalgia kick always seems to be strongest around the holidays– a time to reflect on your year, reconnect with your family, and be thankful for all of the blessings you have been given. Regardless of faith (or lack thereof), there’s just something about December that makes most people I know get a little softer in the heart.

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