The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

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Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Fresh Perspective | Dear Julia

Fresh Perspective is a biweekly blog about typical college experiences, mental health and lifestyle advice.
Fresh Perspective | Dear Julia
Julia Smeltzer | Contributing Editor

Dear Julia,

I picked up my cap and gown today. Weird, right? Waiting in line with people I’ve never met, nor have seen before, for a 30-second interaction with the worker after four of the hardest years of my life felt a little weird — almost like a final transaction.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been in denial about the big date circled on my calendar at the end of this month. I know it’s coming, I can feel it, but I don’t want to look at it just yet. 

When I got home, I hung my gown next to my heather gray Pitt sweatshirt. Remember that one? It was the first one you bought during your first week of school. The collar is a little stretched out, and of course there is a stain or two. You used to wear that one all of the time.

You wore it when you failed your first college exam. I remember you called mom on the verge of tears because you thought one bad grade during your first semester of college would jeopardize the next three and a half years of your academic career. It’s ironic that the exam was for a major that you never ended up committing to. That actually reminds me — you almost never went to Pitt because they didn’t have a journalism major, but Penn State did. To think you almost ended up in Happy Valley. 

But don’t you worry. You’re graduating with a degree in media and professional communications,  a minor in sociology and a certificate in professional writing. Sounds like a lot, right? Yeah, it is. You really screwed me over thinking you’d want to do all of that, but if you look past all the hours of studying and the amount of tears shed, it actually ended up being pretty fun in the end. You took a lot of creative classes that you’d never imagined would be offered as a higher education course. You learned mostly about media theory, how to communicate in words and in a creative sense and a lot of stuff I know future us might not remember, but that’s okay.

Also, you end up being an editor at The Pitt News! I remember when you wore fake blue light glasses in the interview to seem more “journalistic.” You’ve actually spent the last four years documenting our journey at Pitt. You wrote a lot about your struggle with anxiety, how to manage friendships we no longer have and a lot about how to navigate our identity in a really obscure time due to the pandemic. You also wrote a lot about grief after Grandpa died. I know that was really hard for you to manage, but you got through it. He is definitely so proud of who you are becoming. 

The first night of college, you laid in your dorm room and cried. You were so scared about no one liking you and you not liking Pitt. Most of that stemmed with you having absolutely no idea who you were or who you’d become. To be honest, I still have no idea who I am becoming, so I’m sorry about that. But I think I’m getting somewhere. Also, don’t worry about nobody liking you. I mean, maybe there are people out there that dont like you, but you find your people. Remember Meghan, Dorothy and Grace? They have been your roommates for the past three years, and you have created so many unforgettable memories with them. From silly wine nights to birthday parties, to trips to get sweet treats, they have been by your side from start to finish. They’ve dried your tears and have been your source of love and laughter in those hard times.

Also, you’d never believe who decided to join you in Pittsburgh. Your best friend Maggie actually ended up hating California — which worked out for you perfectly. She moved into a really sketchy apartment that she found last minute with a roommate she never met. She had a hard time adjusting to Pitt life, but you were right there to help guide her. Soon later, you found out that you needed her as much as she needed you during that time. During your senior year, she actually moved into your house on Dawson Street, which resulted in you two doing even more things together. I know we’ll have Maggie in our lives for a very long time, simply because we grew up together, and I’m not really sure how to do this whole thing without her.

The past four years have been equally as challenging and tough as they have been rewarding. You found your lifelong people, you’ve learned life’s hardest lessons and most importantly, you’ve learned the type of person you want to be in the world. You’ve screamed at the top of your lungs in Heinz Field, danced with your friends in places all over Pittsburgh and stayed up all night talking and laughing with your friends. In turn, you have also worked so hard trying to get final assignments and papers done. You took on multiple responsibilities that felt like too many at times. You’ve been at the lowest of your lows and the highest of highs all within four years at this one place. But you don’t regret any of it.

You learned to love Pitt and Pitt has loved you back.

So, Julia, I hope you remember one day that you have always been your own biggest fan as well as your own biggest competitor. You have what it takes to lead with grace, and you can overcome anything, because if these past four years have taught us anything, it’s that you can do it. I am proud of everything you have done, but I am just as equally excited to see where we end up.

Love,

Julia

P.S. never dye your hair pink again, it didn’t suit you.

About the Contributor
Julia Smeltzer, Digital Manager
I'm Julia, a Senior majoring in Media and Professional Communications with a certificate in Digital Media and Professional Writing. This is my 4th  year working for The Pitt News and I hope to pursue a career in Journalism or Marketing!