A thank-you letter to UW-Madison, from a graduating senior

Saying goodbye to the one you love can be hard. The Weekly’s own Kelsey O’Hara, who graduates Saturday, has a few parting thoughts.

Hey there UW-Madison:

At first we had a love-hate relationship. Not only was finding the right university stressful, so was figuring out how to pay for it. I had to leave my family and friends, and I really struggled.

I remember the stress of finding friends and starting college courses for the first time. But after the tears dried from saying goodbye to my parents and finding the right group of friends, Madison became my home. After three years of Bucky Badger, late nights at Memorial Library and sunsets at the Terrace, I wanted to say thank you.

Thank you for being an environment where I was challenged to learn and grow as a citizen. I took classes where I explored my passions and found new interests, such as community outreach and volunteering. I met professors and peers who broadened my perspectives on politics, society, and culture. These classes gave me real life experiences where I can put my passions into practice.

Thank you for building a great community. I always loved strolling on the Lakeshore Path and shopping on Monroe Street. I met new people who encouraged me to go out and see other areas of Madison, such as Willy Street or the Capitol. You offered me a variety of activities that let me engage with the community whether it was tailgating during football season, Badger Volunteers, or field trips through University Housing.

Thank you for letting me find friends that have made my college experience amazing. I never realized that there are so many great people just in Madison. My friends pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me create experiences that I will remember for a lifetime. I always miss my family, but my friends at UW-Madison have been a great support system.

Despite the stress, expenses, and the occasional loneliness, I will always be grateful for the experiences that you gave me. And I will always carry the memories that make me a Badger.

On, Wisconsin!

Kelsey O’Hara, student writer for University Communications, spring 2017 journalism graduate of UW-Madison and native of Rosemount, Minnesota.