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Student view: Four years becomes a lifetime

May 1, 2023 - Caitlin Finerty

Caitlin Finerty is a fourth-year student majoring in social relations and policy in James Madison College, and public relations in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. She is a Bailey Scholar with a minor in leadership in integrated learning. Finerty is a student communications assistant for JMC Marketing and Communications and was the director of marketing for Associated Students of Michigan State University.

Caitlin Finerty in cap and gown

I am about to graduate from Michigan State University, the school that I’ve known I was going to go to since I was 11. It doesn’t feel real, yet it feels like the truest thing that has ever happened to me. As I look back on my (apologies for the cliché) “unprecedented time” at MSU and in James Madison College, I can’t help but be proud of everything that I have accomplished.

I still remember walking from my room in North Case to Wilson with my roommate for my very first college class ever: MC201. I already spent the days leading up to the first day of classes meeting everyone I possibly could and getting signatures to run for JMC Student Senate, but the thought of getting to know even more peers and my first professors made me so excited I could scream. It didn’t matter that I had sweat through my sheets the night before; I got up and got ready for the rest of my life.

Flash forward only a few months and I was frantically throwing all of my belongings into a green cart so my mom could drive me home to quarantine with the rest of my family. I stopped looking forward to my classes every day and when finals came around, tasks like finishing my MC202 paper were unimaginably difficult. All I could do was hold onto hope that someday soon, I would be back in Case Hall, making memories the same way I had done for the first six months of college.

It took a little longer than I had hoped to return to Case Hall but stepping into a third-floor classroom for my first in-person SRP class during the fall of 2021 was an amazing feeling. Seeing everyone again and trying to hear Professor Gene Burns over the loud air conditioning and a mask was the best way to start the second half of college.  

I spent my junior year adjusting to a new world with new ways to learn, plus I was working at the University in student positions to gain experience and help me in my future career. I also found the opportunity to work on myself and make sure I was being the best, most honest version of me.

When it was time to start my senior year at MSU, I thought I was ready to be done. I look back now and see how naive that was because I don’t feel ready to be done — even now. I am graduating with a class that missed out on so much, and because of that, I am eternally grateful that  we  made it to this day.

If Jeff Judge walked up to me now and handed me keys to room 469 Case Hall, giving me the chance to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Instead, I am gearing up to go off into the world and create a new chapter. I can’t wait.