Senior Reflection: Samantha Riley


Photo courtesy of Samantha Riley

On move-in day freshman year, I began thinking soon after my mother left that I wasn’t sure I belonged here. My confidence has never been too high, and I didn’t know whether or not I was good enough to end up at college. 

Imposter syndrome hit my system hard, but as classes began I started to feel that maybe I was just thinking too much about it. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and picking a major for myself felt like the end-all-be-all for my future career.

Throughout high school, I enjoyed my English classes the most.

Reading timeless novels and analyzing them for a deeper meaning brought me joy and satisfaction. Writing allowed me to express thoughts and feelings I didn’t know how to verbalize, both in and out of the classroom. 

My teachers continuously encouraged me to keep writing. The back page of my essays were always filled with comments of affirmation and critiques to make my arguments stronger.

These words of encouragement pushed me to be the best I could be, and I’d like to think that it worked.

During my senior year of high school, I began thinking about what I’d do in college.

English was my preference, I thought. It’s what I enjoyed and what I knew I could find at least some success in. Oftentimes, this idea was met with the typical response of, “what are you going to do with that? How will you find a job with an English degree?”

After three semesters of dipping my toes into other majors like psychology and sociology, trying to figure out where I belonged, I decided to just make my way to the Registrar’s office and declare as an English major. If an English degree was what I wanted since graduating high school, there couldn’t be much harm in pursuing that field. Regardless of where others believed it would get me down the line, I chose to go with my passion for English.

I’d like to imagine that college can be a difficult time for everyone, as it certainly was for me. I’ve struggled with schoolwork, mental health, and motivation here and there, but I’ve come to realize that it’s all worth it. 

I think I speak for the majority of students when saying that these last three semesters have been the most trying given the pandemic.

I won’t lie; I miss sitting in a classroom, and I miss meeting face-to-face with my peers and professors–not through a screen. I guess I just wish I could have gotten more out of my last semesters in college. 

Regardless, I’ve learned a lot as far as academics goes, but maybe more importantly I’ve learned more about myself as a person. Getting through these semesters has taught me that I am more resilient than I thought I was, and that I’m still able to find some good in less than preferable circumstances. 

But now here I am, less than two weeks away from graduating with that English degree.

I’m proud of myself and the work I’ve done, but I don’t think I could have gotten here without help from those around me. I’d like to thank Professor Harris, Dr. Crooke, Dr. Hinnefeld, Dr. Tabor, and Professor Zucco for encouraging and supporting me throughout these last four years. 

I guess this is it, though. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had at Moravian, the friends that I’ve made, and the tools that I’ve acquired to set me up for life in the “real world.”

We’ll see where we go from here!