Life at Ripon — Sara Driebel ’16

Chapter 4: Ready

[Editor’s Note: Chuchen Tan ’16, Sara Driebel ’16, and Jacob Sahr ’16 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!]

As of May 2016, I will be a Ripon College graduate.

Whew, I said it. That feels strange.

Although I will be sticking around for a while to finish my student-teaching placement, in a few short weeks I no longer will wake up to say “good morning” to my roommate. I no longer will be able to take a few steps down the hall to knock on one of my best friend’s door to steal some of her few remaining Girl Scout cookies. These are the last times I will be able to take a study break to walk through the prairie, take a pressing question to one of my professors, or sit at the bench outside of Todd Wehr to finish some homework.

As I have been dwelling on the multitude of “lasts” that the senior class is facing, I am trying to actively remind myself of all of the “firsts” that we will experience as well! The first time I use my skills learned here at Ripon to (hopefully) land a big-kid job, the first time I will be able to come to Alumni Weekend, the first time I will be able to say, “I graduated from Ripon College” in conversation. This adventure is coming to a close, but we sure have a lot of time now to start some new ones!

Recently, many of my sorority sisters and I discussed the question “What legacy did you leave behind?” It was surreal to think about — someone who is just starting his or her next four years here may notice something I have worked toward in my own four years. Whoa! This got me thinking: Ripon students prior to my class’ arrival were largely responsible for shaping my experience at this place. Students, professors and so many more people have cultivated a culture that is very specific to this College, and it is continually changing and growing. In a few years, first years may have an entirely different emphasis in areas of study. Maybe they will completely toss out our current philanthropy events in favor of new ones. Extracurriculars may shift as clubs are added and removed, as per usual. It is going to be amazing to see all that the incoming classes can innovate and create their own legacies, just as we have worked so hard to create one of our own. My group may be leaving, but another one is coming in to continue or change what they will, and that is so exciting!

Looking forward, I am sitting in the same boat that many of my fellow graduates also are paddling around. I am nervous for the job search, but thrilled to embark on a new adventure doing what I have always wanted. I am sad to leave collegiate classes behind with so much left to learn, but looking forward to all that I will discover through my future as an educator. I am not looking forward to entering the big-kid world with my closest friends spread across the country, but I cannot wait to spend each day with my family and dog again.

As all of my graduation reality realizations are hitting at once, I am feeling a complete mix of feelings — nostalgia, sadness, excitement, nervousness, glee — and pride! I am proud to have been able to spend ages 17 to 21 at this place and to have learned all that I have. The relationships I have made, the lessons I have gained, the skills I have developed and the warmth I constantly feel will always be with me, even as I leave the small town of Ripon and enter the workforce as a hopeful history teacher. Even though I am feeling all of these things, I also feel one more: ready.

Sara Driebel ’16

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