For Norwich seniors, it’s a look back at many memories, and a look ahead to the future

It’s like any other day for Angel Cruz, you wake up to get ready for school, making sure that you have all that you need. Yet those days were getting closer to an end for Cruz, a 21-year-old senior from Passaic, N.J.

With less than a week before graduation, “it’s an unreal feeling, knowing that my first 16 years of education are coming to an end, and I will be on my own for the first time,” Cruz said.

Like many Norwich students who are finishing their four years and about to join the class of 2018, Cruz was excited to discuss his future. And like his fellow seniors, who come from all backgrounds to Norwich to face challenges, gain leadership experience as well as to find new families, it is a time to look back as well.

“I recently bought my graduation tickets for my family to come see me, it’s exciting to know that they will be here to see me finish my time. They are very proud of me to see my accomplishments and how far I got,” Cruz said.

With the academic year coming to an end, many around the campus are anxious to go home, and some are already looking at their next year with determination. Yet all the seniors are focused on graduation, with some who have plans for their lives while others are continuing their education.

“Honestly, I’m ready to graduate,” said Joseph Regalado, 21, a studies in war and peace major from San Antonio, Texas. “My time here was enjoyable but I’m ready to do more, I’m ready to start my future and graduation is the gateway into that.,”

Cruz feels the same way. “I am ready for graduation, I feel as if my time here has been worth it. I got to learn a lot by being in the Corps and being an engineer, so like others I’m ready and anxious to graduate,” Cruz said.

Things will be interesting “as I get ready to graduate, planning for the family to come and see me walk the stage will be a great feeling, and I know they will feel just as excited for me,” said senior Marcellus Adams, 21, a communications major from Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

“Graduating will be fun for me, to be able to walk across the stage and know that after 16 years I finished the base of my education and can keep on going with my life,” said Jasmine Bowman, 21, a communications major from District Heights, Maryland

For Jacob Guab, 21, a senior business management major from Grapevine, Texas, graduation couldn’t come any faster. He said seniors are ready to end finals and to continue their lives and are very excited to do so.

At the same time, as the final weeks have wound down, there’s time for senior to recall notable moments in their journey through Norwich.

“I have plenty of memories here on campus, I would say that one of the most memorable ones is when my rook class was recognized, that was a surreal moment for all of us,” Cruz said.

“The best memories I have here at Norwich were my accomplishments,” Regalado said, “Any time I finished a training such as drill, or the Mountain Cold Weather unit, the ceremonies were the greatest memories for me,” he said.

Norwich thrives on memories, said Adams. “You gain so many while here at Norwich, everything from your first days here to your last. You gain so many friends and when you hang out with the right ones, every time is a memory,” Adams observed.

“My best memories here at Norwich was probably the hangouts with friends in and out of class, we would laugh and have a great time all the time – but I feel like that best memory will be of me graduating soon enough,” Bowman said.

Guab noted that everyone will have their own memories and what they consider were the best. His were any time he got to travel with the shock platoon around the nation.

Of course, some of the prominent memories are of struggles and overcoming obstacles. “The hardest times at Norwich where the late-night study sessions for major projects or work, sometimes I wouldn’t sleep for two days just to make sure that all my work got done and that it was as perfect as it can be,” Cruz said.

“Honestly, everything here felt like a struggle,” Regalado said with honesty, “the tough times in trainings, classes, time managing, everything, but in the end, it was worth it.”

On top of all the studying “general time management was a big struggle while I was here, trying to remain focused with academics, and being far from home was something that I and many others struggled with,” Adams said.

Bowman was already looking ahead to the next steps in her life after Norwich. “I would say the struggle is figuring out what to do after you graduate, there is so much you can do after college it’s kind of overwhelming. You want to make the right choices with your major and make sure that what you do is what you really enjoy so you can be happy in life,” Bowman said.

Guab observed that probably everyone at Norwich goes through their own struggles: it’s about figuring it out and learning from any mistakes. Seniors often cite the biggest struggles as making sure you stayed on top of all your work, making sure you were reaching the correct credit amounts, and making sure you can graduate on time.

Now with graduation upcoming this weekend and parents and family descending on campus, seniors have their eyes firmly on what’s next.

“After I graduate I plan on moving to Maryland and work a job that I got for engineering. I’m excited because I will be on my own with a roommate or two living our lives the way we want to. I’ll try and stay connected with all my close friends but working what I studied for is what I’m ready for,” Cruz said.

“I will be going back home,” Regalado said, “I will be vacationing for a little bit until I have to go to training and then after that, I will be in Hawaii for the Army, it’s a great and rare opportunity that I am excited to go for,”

It’s a long path of many decisions still to be made for some seniors. “I’m still deciding and figuring out exactly what I’m doing, I have a plan of what I want to do but now its in the air for two things. It’s going to be interesting to see where I will be, but I am excited,” Adams said.

“I have some jobs in mind that I want to do, but its difficult to find something straight out of school. Currently, I just want to work with my major and find a job in post-production back home or maybe a big city,” Bowman said.

Guab stated that after graduation he plans to join the police force in a city around him. Although it doesn’t exactly correlate with his degree, it’s something he has been interested in and wants to do.

And like his fellow seniors, Guab explained that he is excited to move on, to work in his new profession after the ceremony and to begin his new life.

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