"These will be the best years of your life".
Thats what "they" told me when I graduated high school. The cards and well wishes I received at that time were full of inspirational quotes about living life to the fullest and living out God's plan for my life.
What "they" didn't tell me was how rigorous it would be. "They" didn't tell me that I'd cry myself to sleep multiple nights because of how overwhelmed I felt. "They" didn't tell me how difficult it would be to maintain relationships all while being a student, sister, daughter, intern, and employee -- all while figuring out who Emily really is.
But I did figure it out. All because of OPPORTUNITY.
Journalists are supposed to have curious spirits and I reflected that spirit these part four years. I never said no to an opportunity and when I couldn't find one, I created my own. From internships in California to leadership roles on campus to spontaneous trips around the world - the answer was always yes.
And the answer moving forward will still be yes. Opportunity is how you grow and without my opportunities these past four years, I wouldn't be the person I am now.
I've graduated with a degree in Digital Broadcast Journalism from the No. 2 Journalism school in the nation, while also obtaining a Sports Media Certificate (one of the best programs for that, too) and a Spanish minor. I worked with our amazing football team during the Richt era, made forever friends, and put my dreams into action. I worked on national marketing and advertising campaigns and reported on stories that matter.
I am so blessed and thankful. My heart is FULL when I reflect on the experiences I've had, the people I've met, and the lessons I've learned.
But "they" were wrong. These were not "the best years of my life". I refuse to believe that my best years are now behind me and that I've spent my entire life in school.
I choose to believe that the best is yet to come and that this next chapter is filled with adventure and experiences.
To Athens, The Grady College of Journalism, and The University of Georgia, I owe you everything. Here's to the future! Go Dawgs forever.
"IN THEIR HEARTS HUMANS PLAN THEIR COURSE, BUT THE LORD ESTABLISHES THEIR STEPS" - Proverbs 16:9
"they" will advise you every single day, but there is only one who truly leads the way.