4/18/21 Purdue from Above, Memorial Mall

Planes flying into the Purdue Airport often fly right over the West Lafayette campus. 

It doesn’t seem quite fair that seniors are saying goodbye to a campus that hasn’t been the same since last March, but here we are.

We did it. We made it.

I hope it gets better from here.

Graduating seniors have seen a lot over the past four years. We came to campus when the biggest event was the total solar eclipse that covered America. The next year, campus transformed as Purdue celebrated its 150th birthday, and we witnessed the University pull out all stops to throw the year’s biggest party.

The year after that was 2020.

We’ve been through a lot together, my fellow graduating seniors. People will tell us that we should be working toward a brighter future, one without pandemics, without catastrophic climate change, without the world erupting in chaos. But as one of the students charged with single-handedly making the world a better place, I say this:

Let’s be sure to take some time for ourselves and each other while we’re at it.

Boilermakers are told they’re good at pressing their noses to the grindstone and getting work done. We know all too well what all-nighters in Hicks or Lawson feel like, and how lonely it can be walking home after a long night on academic campus. Our BGR Common Bond song was literally “All Night” by the Vamps — we’re no stranger to struggle.

That work ethic can grind us to dust if we let it, though — something I think all Boilermakers should remember. Especially after they turn their tassels and enter the world outside of West Lafayette, degree in hand.

We’re strong, not because we work until our eyes glaze over. We’re strong when we work together and pull each other up over the wall — whether that be peer-reviewing essays and lines of code or presenting group projects together that were finished just minutes before lecture started.

Sometimes we have a little trouble realizing that we’re burnt out. Other times we protest and demand better mental-health resources and better breaks than three days off a semester.

We need to carry that same line of thinking everywhere we go, all.

Being a Boilermaker is about more than working hard. It’s about working with each other for a common goal. Working to make life easier for each other, and to recognize the challenges our peers experience every day. Working out time when we can take breaks, relax and reflect on a job well done.

Let’s take some time to breathe this summer.

We’re done.

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