Graduating seniors saying farewell

By Madison Ely
Staff Writer

As the month of April draws to a close the city of Tuscaloosa enters into its annual graduation season.

This season is filled with lots of emotions from exiting seniors as they prepare to conclude their final moments here at The University of Alabama.

Each university has its own unique experience to offer students, and The University of Alabama is no exception. From tailgating on the Quad, sold out football games in Bryant-Denny, hundreds of campus clubs, award-winning academic programs, and everything in between. It’s a well-rounded college experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

I had the opportunity to talk to several graduating seniors about their experience at The University of Alabama, and why they will always cherish the time here they spent here.

Q: After your four years at The University of Alabama as a student do you feel fulfilled with your college experience?

A: Kylie Heitman, a senior majoring in Advertising said, “I’m so beyond fulfilled, I have done everything I have set out to do during my time here. Alabama has helped shape me into the woman I am today, and has allowed me to mature and grow and I am so grateful for that.”

Ansley Hamid, senior majoring in Biology, said, “I do feel fulfilled. I’ve experienced the full college circle of life, so to speak. I started out not knowing what I was doing. Now I’ve experienced academic success, received opportunities that I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere, figured out what I want in life, and have had so much support from my professors.”

Claire Studer, a senior majoring in accounting said, “Academically, I would say I feel fulfilled. The accounting department here has set me up for so much success. They’ve always been a shoulder to cry on or the person to go to right away when celebrating something monumental. I have so much love for that department because they made me dig deeper and reach my potential.”

Q: Do you feel that UA has prepared you for what comes next?

A: Heitman said, “Yes, definitely. The professors and the academic work in my major have been highly influential to me, and what I plan on doing after college.”

Hamid said, “Yes, very much so. I am attending graduate school next year at Auburn Universityto obtain a Masters in Aquaculture, and this isn’t something that I would have been able to do if it wasn’t for UA.”

Studer said, “ I think UA did a great job of preparing me for what comes next, but of course it’s a

50/50 split. UA can only prepare you so much you also have to be willing and able to put the work in to grow into an adult ready to go into the working world. UA did their part and I did mine.”

Q: What is something that you’re proud of that happened during your time spent at The University of Alabama?

A: Heitman said, “Overall I’m proud that I have learned so many life lessons and really foundmyself at this university, but academically I’m very proud of making the Dean’s list a few times for my academic hard work.”

Hamid said, “I’m proud of the university’s response to COVID-19 in 2020 and their willingness to take care of student workers. This pandemic was hard on everyone and they did their best to help.”

Studer said, “I am really proud of the fact that I used to get up for work at 3:45 a.m. and I stillmanaged to make great grades in college that I am proud of. It was a lot to juggle but I made it through and was able to support myself.”

Q: What advice would you give to an underclassman about their time spent here?

A: Heitman said, “I would say, to live in the present because time is so valuable. It feels like yesterday I was graduating high school, and now I’m stepping out into the world.”

Hamid said, “I would tell them that, despite being here to learn, that isn’t all you have to focus on. Enjoy the experience of everything Tuscaloosa can offer before it’s too late.”

Studer said, “I would tell them to work hard but have fun while doing it. Go to that party, take that weekend trip with your friends. It’s hard, but commit to managing your time well and you

can do anything.”

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say as a senior about to conclude their journey at TheUniversity of Alabama?

A: Heitman said, “Overall, UA is my home and will forever hold a huge place in my heart. I’m sad to be leaving UA, but I’m excited for what’s to come. These last four years have flown by,but I will never forget my time here.”

Hamid said, “It’s sad that my time in college is already over, but I am grateful for everything UA has done, and given me.”

Studer said, “It’s hard to leave and walk away, and it’s hard to start a new chapter of life when I really don’t want this one to end. But how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. UA truly is a family and will always be my home away from home.”