Life is full of expectations and college is no different. There are expectations to be successful in your classes, to make the most meaningful friendships of your lifetime and to make lots of memories.

In my first two years of college, I felt like I was falling short of every expectation I had for myself, even after multiple attempts to get involved and find my community on this campus. I felt stuck and alone and spent most weekends driving 300 miles up Interstate 5 just to return to familiarity. I did not know where to go, but I never stopped looking.

I don't think I regret having expectations for myself and my college experience. Expectations made me ambitious and held me accountable, but more than anything, expectation led me to failure — failure that taught me to find fulfillment in myself rather than others’ validation, failure that taught me to grow and failure that taught me to keep going.

Granted, this is a great oversimplification of my experience with failure—it sucks and it hurts—but being comfortable with it allowed me to continue trying without fear or embarrassment.

I leave college a much more involved and connected member of the LMU community, and all that it taught me was that you don't need to be a part of anything on campus to belong or to find fulfillment. After we cross that stage today, it won’t matter how many stoles and cords you had hung over your shoulders.

Don't be involved for the sake of being involved. It is so easy to want to do everything you can during college and to feel like you don't stack up to everyone around you. I have found that it is so much more important to find people and places that make you feel like yourself.

I am so grateful that I have had experiences here that made me a more confident person professionally and personally. It is definitely bittersweet since I did not get to this point until well into my college career, but looking back I am just as appreciative of the obstacles I faced as the successes I have had.

It feels like there is never enough time and that college is ending right as I am really getting my footing. So, my final piece of advice would be to fail fast, know when to move on and never stop searching for community.

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