Life at Ripon – Kaitlyn Welzen ’15

Chapter 4: Letting Go and Looking Forward

[Editor’s Note: Kaitlyn Welzen ’15, Rachel Detrie ’15, and Clarence Sanon ’15 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their senior year experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life At Ripon!]

Now begins the crazy part of my semester: the end. With six weeks until graduation, it feels like there is still so much that I need to finish. I have papers to write and presentations to prepare, yet the finish line is in sight. We just had the Cap and Gown Party, and it was interesting to talk with members of the Alumni Board about their careers and experiences at Ripon. Many of them asked about my future plans, and I explained that they are still being made. I hope to continue in the field of sustainability, most likely somehow related to food or agriculture, but exactly what I want to accomplish is uncertain. Regardless, my job search has begun, and I am looking forward to life after college, although I am unsure where that will lead me in the future. In the next two months, there is a lot to accomplish, but I feel confident that all will go well.

Perhaps the most daunting of these is finding people to continue doing what I am currently working on. In my time as Sodexo’s sustainability intern on campus, I have had the privilege and responsibility of creating a composting system, building and maintaining a hoop house, and now growing produce in the Commons with three tower gardens. Additionally, I will pass on the role of EGOR president and my role as a volunteer Spanish teacher at Quest Elementary to other students at the end of the semester. These activities have become part of who I am as a person and moving away from them feels strange, especially since they are being entrusted to others to maintain in the future. I guess that I am used to doing things myself and relying on others to take over is new for me, but in the long run I think it will be an important lesson to learn since I cannot do everything on my own (although I often try…).

During these last few weeks, I have been spending a good amount of time reflecting on my experience at Ripon, and I am in awe of how well everything in my life has come together as a result. For my sociology class, we were asked to think about our first days as college students here on campus, and in doing so, I realized just how much I have changed. I have been able to do amazing things in just four years: live in Spain for a semester, change a city ordinance, build a structure on campus, travel to Costa Rica, teach Spanish. These are all things that I never expected to do in college, and it is truly amazing to me how each of these events came into my life. I feel extremely fortunate to be graduating with so many experiences and new connections as a result of my time here. I think what I will miss most about Ripon is the people who I have met and gotten to know over these past four years. I definitely plan to come back to visit them.

Kaitlyn Welzen ’15


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