The semester is coming to an end, and that means a lot of things will be changing for students of all ages. Many people say the only thing in life that’s constant is change and that’s too true. You could be a freshman leaving your new best friends for summer, a sophomore or junior moving into your first apartment in the fall or a senior who’s graduating in a week and leaving Plattsburgh for a while, if not forever.
The end of the semester is usually a sad time for these reasons. The devastating death of PSUC senior Dylan Irish makes the end of this year almost unbearable. I was lucky enough to have known Dylan because he was an amazing friend to my cousin Kiersten during her four years here at PSUC. He was always so friendly and welcoming. He was someone you wanted to have a conversation with because he would really listen and care about whatever you were talking about.
I attended the protest outside City Beach, Plattsburgh with Dylan and a group of people when the Donald Trump rally came to town about a month ago. I remember when I decided last minute to ditch my photography assignment and go to the protest, Dylan asked if I was coming and when I said I was, he said, “That’s awesome!” He made me feel great because I felt welcome in the group. He probably didn’t even realize how his positive attitude affected my day because that’s just how he was. We all shared a lot of laughs that day.
When the protest ended, Dylan, my cousin Kiersten and I started walking all the way back toward town with our signs in hand. Dylan’s sign wrote, “Jobs & Education Not Walls & Incarceration.” Kiersten had a drawing of a woman from the waist down with “MY Business” written across the underwear. Mine wrote, “Women Dump Trump.”
As we walked, I started telling them about about a guy who had said something sexist to me during class and how much it upset me. Dylan immediately started to defend me and expressed how he wished women didn’t have to go through things like that.
In that moment, I looked at Dylan in awe because I was so happy I was friends with such a genuinely kind and caring person. I’ll always remember the times we played stump together on sunny days and hung out at Kiersten’s apartment drinking and smoking. I could never forget Dylan because he made my college experience brighter just by being around. I’m so grateful to have met such amazing people during college who changed college for me in the best way possible.
The fall is going to be weird, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it yet. The events that have occurred and the people who I’ve grown close to this year have shaped my life greatly. The next two years are open to anything possible, but they won’t be the same without these people who I adore with all my heart.
I know I’m going to have sad feelings next semester every time I pass Kiersten’s apartment at Zuke’s or when I go to text her to hang and realize she isn’t there.
This is all a part of growing, and with growing comes change and maturity. Each year is an opportunity for you to grow, learn and teach others. Be kind to your friends and to strangers. Ask somebody how they’re doing when you see them because you never know if it will be the last time.
College is tough and at times it may feel like you’re crashing and burning. Always remember that there are people for you no matter the distance. I know I’ll be calling Kiersten when I’m drunk on the weekends and thinking about her and when I’m sober too just to say, “Suh dude?”
It’s been a great experience with all of these people and I’m going remember them my whole life.
Email Laura Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org