Coming full circle

'Tis the season for departmental banquets.

This time last year I was nearing graduation, and I was doing much of what my students are currently doing. Attending award banquets, passing the leadership role torches, and transitioning out of active involvement within various organizations took up several of those last weeks. I was taking pictures with those I would miss most, friends and professionals alike. I was jumping in the water dome, passing along pieces of my sisterhood through senior will downs, and playing pranks on the baby pandas. There were a lot of silly moments and a great deal of fun. But in addition to those moments of enjoyed freedom and spontaneity, I was attending ceremonies, being recognized for my hard work, and receiving awards and graduation cords that symbolized the effort of four years full of focus, dedication, and determination. While the banquets happened every year, last year they held a bit more meaning than they had in years past.

Now I'm watching my students experience all of these things and more. They're being recognized individually and within organizations. Certificates, plaques, and trophies will now adorn their shelves and their desks. Some of them are being named "Female RA of the Year" and "Hall Government President of the Year," and they've put on events such as the "Best Educational Program Overall." They're moving up from Vice President to President, thanking those who've helped them thus far and making plans for the next year. They're seeking new opportunities to grow and develop. They're attending grad school and acquiring internships. They're accepting job offers.

I couldn't be more proud.

It's so rewarding to see the surprise and the disbelief and the joy on their faces when they realize they've been recognized for their efforts and their passion. To see them beaming with excitement and pride for the work they've done in the past year, and the fact that someone took notice and truly saw them, is one of the greatest things I could ever ask to experience.

Thank you for a wonderful first year at Florida State – here's to the next one.