Posted by Joanna Haug
Nearly four years ago, I wrote a blog post called “Climb Every Mountain,” recounting the 15s’ time in Santa Fe. I wrote about bonding as a class, perseverance, and hope for the future. I recalled the struggle of climbing Atalaya, paired with my uncertainty about the future and the sense of community and family that got me through those efforts. Now, we’re alumni of the University of Texas at Dallas and the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the identities we’ve formed, both as individuals and as a class. We started out as the 15s– bright eyed freshmen with no idea what the future held– but we are leaving here as soon-to-be doctors, engineers, policy-makers, sociologists (hi!), and business people. We are leaving as so much more than that, though.
In our time here, we’ve been able to explore the things we love and find what drives us. Daniel Rodricks has a deep love of music that has shaped his experience here. Rachel Kyes loves to read, write, and discuss literature. Joey Campain, Nidhish Lokesh, and Neel Reddy love to play ultimate frisbee. Kiara Dandridge, Emily Fine, and Morganne Blaylock are incredibly passionate about the environment and have spent much of their time here focused on those efforts.
When we entered the program, the world was full of so many possibilities. We knew, though, that we were facing those possibilities together. Now, as we leave the program, we face even more possibilities. Our time here has prepared us to face those possibilities as individuals, knowing that we always have this community standing behind us.
Four years ago, I wrote about climbing every mountain— doing the things we didn’t know we could because we had a community behind us. So, 2015s, did we do it?!?! Did we climb them all? We’ve climbed a lot of mountains: we studied abroad, completed internships, served our communities, and worked through our struggles together. Right now, it feels like we’re at the top of a really, really big mountain.
Four years ago, I wrote, “when my group reached the top of the mountain, it felt like we had conquered uncharted land. We celebrated, and then spent a few moment in quiet reflection.” So, 15s, let’s take a moment. Look around. Take a deep breath. We’re here now. We made it to the top. There will be many more mountains to face on our own, but we will climb them with the knowledge that, though we are separate, we will always be there to help one another make it to the top.