Saying goodbye at graduation

Story by Nicole Mormann

Photo by Emmy Gyori

The basement of Henley Hall, known to many Chapman students as Hen Bay, smells of grease, leather, and laundry (the dirty and fresh kind). The basement, with its open-door laundry room and black leather chairs lined against the wall, and Doy’s Place, with its pizza slices the size of one’s face, triggers one’s senses in a sickly-sweet way. However, for many upperclassmen, the basement brings back more than a slight taste of their lunch from earlier  – it brings back memories of moments from their overall time at Chapman.

“I have good memories from Henley basement, but I definitely associate it with freshman year. The trips down to Doy’s with my roommates for snacks late at night were some of my best memories,” said soon-to-be senior creative writing and English literature major Zoe Zhang.

For many, senior year is a bittersweet period. It teeters the line between the desire for post-grad freedom and the sadness of leaving behind four years of memories.

“Chapman was my home for four years. I’ll miss the atmosphere and of course all the friends I’ve made here, but I know we will stay friends,” said senior IES major Alyson Avakian.

In reminiscing over freshman year,  Avakian remembers having the best time with her hall, considering all of them became really close friends. “Everything went right my freshman year, my roommates and I got along great, I loved all of my classes, and I was so excited to be attending Chapman,” said Avakian.

Senior creative writing major Matthew Maichen transferred to Chapman, but felt similarly about his first experiences at the university. “Coming from community college, I felt like life was too easy,’ said Maichen. “I took 15 units right off the bat with two of the reputed hardest English professors at the school among my classes and had a great time doing so.”

For the most part, several seniors have expressed their fondness for their freshman year and academia during their time at the university. However, each one was bound to have a less than ideal experience at one point.

“The worst experience I've had was a bad finance professor who was intelligent in his area of expertise but too scattered and confusing to be a professor,” said senior finance major Alyssa Caban.

Overall though, the consensus seemed the same: most seniors had a positive time at Chapman.

When asked what advice he had for freshman, senior public relations/advertising major Riley Keating said, “Incoming freshmen should try to spend some time with things that interest them and learn from anyone willing to share their ideas with you.”

Senior creative writing major Darin Milanesio added to this sentiment in saying, “I would advise incoming freshman to get internships and start working their way up as soon as they can – a degree can only go so far.”

While they may not have known many of these things as freshman, seniors like Keating and Milanesio can recognize that they’ve since grown as academics and as people as well.

Maichen, who used to have trouble talking with people due to anxiety, has since developed a greater sense of comfort over the course of his undergraduate years. “I've changed in that I've grown emotionally…I've grown as a writer and feel more confident in myself as a person.”

Likewise, Avakian shared that she too was shy when she began as a freshman at Chapman and since come into her own. “I am confident in who I am as a person and what my beliefs are. I'm not afraid of showing my weird side anymore.”

And though it’s difficult to say how most seniors will feel by graduation, it can be said the memories made from their time at Chapman were unforgettable and something they’ll always be able to look back on for years to come.

“I think my best experience has been my overall experience,” said Avakian. “All of my classes, time abroad, and the people I’ve met have made me appreciate everything about Chapman.

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