College years present many pleasant surprises

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    Most people don’t know that I applied to TCU as a theatre major with the full intent of making it to Broadway. It seems laughable now, but if four years ago someone had told me I that I would actually graduate with a business degree in marketing, I would have shaken my head in disbelief. 

    I also could have never imagined that I would one day give a speech in the United Nations General Assembly Hall or lead a group of students to a Q&A session with leaders of Iran. But that’s been the most beautiful thing about college — all the unexpected twists and turns that have made me who I am today. I may not have gone where I intended, but I think I’ve ended up exactly where I am supposed to be.

    These past four years at TCU have exceeded my expectations and have come with some incredible opportunities — particularly the chance to see the world. When I waved goodbye to my small hometown at 18, I did not own a passport. I can now happily say I’ve been to 17 countries, and I have no intention of stopping there. 

    If I could give just one piece of advice to underclassmen, it would be to go abroad. I look back on my study abroad experience in the Mediterranean and my internship in Germany with the fondest memories. I love to travel, because it forces me out of my comfort zone and allows me to learn about the world and its people in a way that would not be possible from merely reading a textbook.

    Collegiate life has had its ups as well as its downs. Things don’t always go according to plan, and I’ve certainly had my fair share of humiliating moments and foolish mistakes. 

    Every now and then, rain will fall on your parade (this literally happened to me the year I planned the Homecoming Parade), but having the humility to laugh at your blunders and learn from them will take you far in life. And I have a feeling that when I look back on my college years, I won’t remember the final grades I made in my courses, the wrong answers I blurted out in class, or the deadlines I missed. 

    But, I will always smile when I remember those text messages from TCU Alert at 6 a.m., letting us know that snow had canceled classes for the day, and the afternoon I spent with my friends “sledding” down the hill at the Greek in our laundry baskets. 

    I will never forget the way my heart swelled up with pride when TCU won the Rose Bowl, or the weekend that I stayed up all night with my friends after getting home from a formal, just so we could get in line for ESPN College Game Day. Then, we rushed the field with the entire student section after TCU beat Utah. 

    Memories of all the road trips, celebrations, Spring Breaks and late night conversations with friends will continue to replay in my mind for years to come. Don’t ever forget to slow down and appreciate these simple moments, because four years will fly by unbelievably quickly.

    It feels strange to be leaving this campus, the place that I’ve called home for four years. I will miss this supportive community, the amazing people I’ve met, the professors who have been role models and mentors to me, the tulips and daffodils in the spring and the hourly chimes of the alma mater. 

    Although I don’t know where I am going from here, I can assure you this, my friends — it won’t be boring. This chapter of my life may be closing, but I know the next one will be just as much of an adventure. 

    I will never stop learning and being passionately curious about the world and I will always be a TCU Horned Frog.

    Leah Richardson is a senior marketing major from Sealy.