Graduation is fast approaching and the only thing I can think of is: Where has the time gone? I came to Sweet Briar as a transfer student my sophomore year all the way from California. Moving across the country to rural Virginia was a culture shock at first, but it quickly stole my heart. Coming to Sweet Briar was one of the best decisions I ever made — I only wish I had come sooner. I have truly enjoyed my time here and I am saddened for it to be coming to an end. As I prepare to say goodbye to this magical place I got to call home for three years, I wanted to tell you the things I will miss most after I graduate.
The community at Sweet Briar is fantastic. From the first day I stepped onto campus, I have felt welcomed and supported by friends, professors and staff. I will miss the closeness that comes with being at Sweet Briar. I will miss the small class sizes and taking interesting classes. I will miss learning from my professors and getting their advice. I will miss seeing my friends every day and getting to be a part of the sisterhood. I know that I will still be in the sisterhood and joining our extensive network of alumnae, but I will no longer be a part of the student body, and that will take some getting used to. The support and encouragement I have received here have helped me feel confident in taking this next step in life.
There is a reason Sweet Briar has been voted one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. It’s because anyone who has been to Sweet Briar knows what a special place it is. My first semester, my roommate and I would constantly say to each other how lucky we were to live at a place as pretty as Sweet Briar. And as I walked the Dairy Loop at dawn this morning and saw the glow of the new day sun spread over campus, I couldn’t help but think that exact same thing. Only this time, instead of a sense of happiness, I thought of it with a sense of longing, since my days of living at Sweet Briar are numbering in the single digits. I will deeply miss the changing of the seasons. Fall at Sweet Briar is my favorite, and being able to play in the giant leaf piles on the Quad — followed closely by snow covering campus and making it into a winter wonderland, and sledding down the hills on lunch trays. I will miss the serenity of campus and how quiet and peaceful it is, with the reassuring sound of the bell tower chiming. Living on this campus will be the thing I miss the most, but I know that it will always be here when I return to visit.
Participating in the various traditions at Sweet Briar is something I will miss very much. The traditions here at Sweet Briar are part of what makes it such a unique college. They are something I have held in high regard, and I have always felt honored to take part in them. I treasure the Founders’ Day walks to Monument Hill with my “Littles” and getting my class ring at Junior Banquet. While I will be able to come back as an alumna and watch these special events, such as Step Singing, I will never again sit on those golden stairs with my classmates and sing our class songs. As I look back on the traditions I took part in, I appreciate them so much more now.
The Riding Program
I will greatly miss the ability to ride at Sweet Briar. One of the reasons I chose Sweet Briar was because I wanted to continue riding in college, and they had an amazing program. The feeling of being on the trails and riding through the fields on campus brought me so much joy. The riding program gave me the opportunity to grow as a rider and taught me to be a better horsewoman. I will carry the skills and lessons I learned at the Harriet Howell Rogers Riding Center with me for the rest of my life.
Sweet Briar gave me the ability to do things that I may not have done otherwise. I will miss the encouragement and resources that are given to students. I will miss opportunities like going snow tubing with the Outdoor Program or modeling Talbot clothing for career services. During my time here, I was able to study abroad during my last semester of college. The ability to go to Rome, Italy, for a three-week art history course wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Sweet Briar’s Grants for Engaged Learning. I also got to go to Washington, D.C., during my spring break and met with fabulous alumnae who gave us career advice and showed us around the capital. These experiences were made possible by Sweet Briar, and I will miss taking part in them. I cannot wait to be able to give back to future students, just like so many alumnae have given to me.
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Sam Baker ’19 is an international affairs major from Orange, Calif. She is involved in the riding program, played on the varsity tennis team and is a member of the Bum Chums.