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

Join our newsletter

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

Join our newsletter

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

Opinion | Graduation is next week and I’m nervous and scared for the future, but I’m thankful for my time at Pitt

Opinion+%7C+Graduation+is+next+week+and+I%E2%80%99m+nervous+and+scared+for+the+future%2C+but+I%E2%80%99m+thankful+for+my+time+at+Pitt
Thalia Sifnakis | Senior Staff Illustrator

I can’t believe I am graduating college next Sunday. The five years that college has served me in undergrad have flown by so fast that I’m just now realizing how my time at Pitt is truly coming to an end. I don’t want to be sad and only reminisce on what the past five years in life have. I don’t want to dwell on the fact I won’t be a college student in undergrad anymore. Instead, I want to appreciate the friendships, moments and staff that have allowed me to become the person I am today while building a career and name for myself. Pittsburgh has been my home for the past four years, and it would feel wrong to not be thankful for what it has offered me. 

The Beginning 

I transferred to Pitt at the beginning of my sophomore year in 2020 from my home state of North Carolina. I was incredibly happy when I received my transfer acceptance letter — my family, especially my grandmother and aunts, were so excited I was going to Pitt, as my one aunt is an alum of the university. She was excited to show me around Pittsburgh, move me in my first off-campus apartment and to make sure I made the most of my time as an undergraduate college student. I thought I could handle the cold weather, as I was born and raised in New York, but Pittsburgh proved me wrong. Even though I hate the cold, it was the thought of being in a new city with unfamiliar faces that made me realize that transferring to Pitt was the best decision I made. 

The Pitt News 

The Pitt News solidified my first job opportunity and pushed me towards a career of journalism. When I first got accepted after my interview in the summer of 2021, I was happy to know that other people outside of my family liked my writing and felt that it should be published for others to see it. Being an opinions columnist for The Pitt News helped me with my career in writing and what I envision myself wanting to write about. It felt good to read emails that people also liked my writing and agreed with my opinions on Black issues and life advice. Although I was inactive here or there due to my hectic schedule, it felt refreshing every time I pitched an idea that I thought would bring diversity to the publication for all readers to enjoy. The Pitt News was the first organization to give me the opportunity to publish my name and gain other internships for my career. If it wasn’t for believing in myself, I don’t think I would be writing to you guys now as you read this. 

University of Pittsburgh Cheerleading Team 

Cheerleading has been my passion and sport since I was 10 years old. I have gone through many triumphs in my life, and cheer has helped me through each one — death, school, mental health. This sport has been my stress reliever for many years, and it’s going to feel weird and strange not doing it ever again. I am thankful for being a Pitt cheerleader, as I always dreamed of being a collegiate cheerleader. I feel happy seeing children look up to my teammates and me, wanting to be like us and making their day special when they interact with us. It felt good to know I was one of the most prestigious ambassadors for the University. 

Coming from an only competitive cheerleading background, the coaching staff and teammates throughout my three years on the team have helped me learn what being a college cheerleader is like emotionally, physically and mentally. The three years I cheered on the team were rewarding with many opportunities, and I couldn’t be more grateful to end my cheerleading career here at Pitt. 

Faculty and Job Opportunities 

I have built few, but solid relationships with the faculty within the English department, Africana Studies department and my bosses at my work study job. My two majors, English writing and Africana studies, are very big on critical thinking and writing papers, and my professors have been very helpful to me. I have had major writing opportunities, like an internship with Pitt’s psychiatry department and writing for BlackPittsburgh because a professor believed in me to intern and learn under him. The faculty was very understanding when I would have to miss class for cheerleading, sickness or for my grandfather’s death. I appreciate each faculty member I have had the opportunity to learn from who has helped me grow into the student I am today and will be in the future, whether that’s in graduate school or in the workplace. 

Friends 

My friends are the people I’m going to miss most after I walk across the stage next week. I know I will see them again and continue to make plans with them, but it won’t be the same. It won’t be easy to make plans with each other when you guys don’t have similar schedules anymore. I have my friends’ numbers and social media. We are in group chats, so I talk to them constantly. Yet, I’m going to miss going to their house on a weekly basis and talking about life or just sitting in silence, simply just being in the presence of each other. Luckily, my friends and I are going to hang out with each other this whole summer, so I don’t need to worry too much, and I know our friendship will still be the same. I will miss having the comfort of my friends physically when I feel down or bored once we move on from this phase of life.

The Future 

When people say the four to five years of undergrad go by fast, they are not lying. I felt like I’m just now finally getting accustomed to the city of Pittsburgh, and now I have to leave and go back home to another state. I will always come back to visit Pittsburgh. It’s going to feel different and exciting being an alum and being able to watch a football game as a spectator instead of cheering the game the whole time. I’ll miss being on the field in Acrisure, but I finally get to see what tailgating is like as a regular person. I plan on taking a gap year just to rest from the burnout I’ve been feeling to make up for the five years I’ve been in college. I also plan on going to grad school for journalism or Africana studies and made a note to check out Pitt’s programs too. 

I want to cry as I think this is the last column I will ever write as an undergraduate student at Pitt. The future is scary to think about and is unpredictable, but I recommend taking it one step at a time.

P.S. I don’t have to worry about that until after graduation, so I will make this last week as an undergrad one for the books. 

Ashanti McLaurin primarily writes about Black culture, human injustices and gives life advice. Write to her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Ashanti McLaurin, Staff Columnist