By Kevin Lair
Senior Elm Writer
It is crazy to me that in less than a month I will be graduating from Washington College, a place where I have spent the last three years of my life working, participating in clubs, and occasionally studying. I must admit that I was not expecting that this concluding chapter would hit me as hard as it has, but as I sit back and reflect on what I have learned, achieved, and struggled with these past few years, I cannot help but feel a smorgasbord of emotions.
Without a doubt, Washington College was the perfect fit for me. After graduating with a high school class of nearly 150 students, I sought a college that would continue my experience of a truly personal education. WC offered me just that—a uniquely personalized educational experience with small class sizes, professors and staff who truly cared about my education, and the ability to pursue my many academic interests in and out of the classroom.
Just the other day, I hosted and moderated a panel discussion related to my senior thesis topic, and I was blown away by the number of students and faculty who attended. These students, professors, and staff members took the time to show up and support me simply because I was a friend, a student in their class, or a member of the club that they advise. I cannot thank all of these individuals enough for their genuine interest in my educational experience and their unyielding support every step of the way.
Outside of the incredible people, WC provided me with the opportunities to explore my long-rooted interests while opening my eyes to many new ones. I was able to fully immerse myself in the political world through College Republicans, the Maryland Federation of College Republicans, the Alexander Hamilton Society, and four internships ranging from the Maryland General Assembly to Congress to a Washington D.C. think-tank. Through Enactus, I was able to continue my passion for community empowerment and service while enjoying networking opportunities with business professionals and the ability to compete in two national competitions. Through The Elm, I was able to strengthen my writing skills while sharing my views on a vast array of issues impacting our campus, our nation, and our world. I discovered fervent passions for teaching, business, economics, and international studies.
More personally, I also want to thank WC for introducing me to the love of my life. While I entered the College intending to focus solely on my schoolwork and jobs, I could not help but to be captivated by this incredible woman who had become my best friend. A year of close friendship, a few short weeks of summer vacation, and a Taylor Swift concert finally made us realize that we were meant to be together and have remained together ever since. Since then, we have built off of each other’s determination and energy, challenged one another to succeed more than we ever thought possible, and jointly took over struggling clubs and turned them into sustaining entities. I owe a great deal of my success to my girlfriend Aydan Sultanova, and I cannot thank WC enough for bringing us together.
I also thank my parents, sisters, and the rest of my loving family who have helped and supported me throughout this entire experience. I know that I would not be the person I am today and en route to graduate if it were not for their unyielding love and support. I know that this journey has been difficult at times and that I have missed too many family gatherings and events, but I hope you realize just how important this experience has been for me and how much I appreciate all that you have done to make this dream of mine a reality.
While I am sad that my undergraduate experience is coming to a close, I know that this is just the beginning of a long and exciting journey. WC has prepared me, challenged me, and inspired me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Though I do not know how I will ever be able to thank each person who has contributed to this incredible experience, I hope that this article will provide at least some indication of my boundless appreciation to WC and the remarkable people who have made it my home away from home. Without a doubt, my planned 2036 run for president of the United States began here at Washington College.