Senior Reflection: Anna Litofsky

Photo courtesy of Anna Litofsky

Photo courtesy of Anna Litofsky

I wasn’t excited about college.

Not that I wanted to stay in high school, either. At the end of that senior year, I felt stuck – ready to move on from the ridiculous stress of high school but terrified of entering the “real world” of college.

I’d just started to really open up to my friends by hanging out weekly outside of school. I had a twin sister who I’d never been apart from for more than a couple days. I had parents who were literally always there for me if I needed to cry or talk.

Was I going to lose all of that in college?

I wrote a list in my phone’s notes of everything I was scared of. Here are a few of many bullet points, listed under “College Worries”:

  • Having to make new friends; what if I can’t? What if I feel alone and isolated and ****** about myself?
  • The work in general. How much of my time and energy will it take up?
  • Putting myself out there to participate in new clubs and activities. How the **** will I get myself to do that?

As I sat sulking in my room in denial, my parents did the work researching school options and driving me and my sister to tours.

I knew, at least, that I was leaning towards a small school. As a shy kid, I had faded into the high school crowd. My parents thought a small school would make it harder to disappear so I could get more individual attention in classes. I did think that sounded nice.

Moravian College was on our list for being a small liberal arts school close enough to home. I remember walking through the campus on tour and enjoying the bright flowers and the closeness of the buildings. It felt close-knit, comfy.

And I remember Jan Ciganick, the Art Department Chair at the time, offering to tour me specifically through the campus’ art department after hearing of my interest in drawing. That was big. I got to walk through the art buildings and catch glimpses of the cool work students were doing. And I felt like I could have a place there.

In the end, it edged out my other options. Ever so slightly less nervous, I decided on Moravian.

Orientation week was admittedly rough as I adjusted to a new living space in a new location surrounded by entirely new people. But my assigned roommate was a lot like me, and we thankfully got along well. And I kept myself sane by saying, “Don’t think too much. Take it one day at a time.”

I had no idea how quickly the days would start to fly.

Encouraged by each other, my roommate and I went to events. We tried out activities like Wingo, off-campus shopping trips, and special dinners at the Star. Though social interaction usually stressed me out, I had fun being with her and had pride in myself for trying some new things.

I became a double major in Graphic Design and English and learned so much from my professors. I learned how much I didn’t know. Though I was constantly worried about being good enough, my professors encouraged me to do my best, and I was happy to see my skills and knowledge strengthening.

I talked to people in my classes. Over time, I got to know some amazing classmates and professors through class conversations. And I became someone people said hi to when we crossed paths on campus.

I became club President of the Manuscript, Moravian’s literary magazine. When I found myself being offered the role, I was terrified – I wasn’t a leader! – but I said yes anyway. Now I’ve been serving as the President for two years, and I’m proud that I helped create a magazine that showcases the creativity and skill of the Moravian community.

I became a reporter and comic artist for The Comenian. I’m so thankful to Professor Harris for asking me to write pieces and create a regular graphic column in the first place. Through this work, I could truly express myself and connect with others, which felt especially valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been such a joy working with everyone here over the years.

I created the graphics for an application designed to help people in Bangladesh detect the cleanliness of their water. Dr. Sonia Aziz offered this opportunity after seeing my comic work in The Comenian, and in doing it, I felt like I made a positive impact in the world.

I interned with the Moravian Marketing & Communications Department, learning so much about graphic design in a supportive atmosphere as I helped establish Moravian University’s visual identity.

I also interned for the 2022 Moravian Writers’ Conference. Working with Dr. Brandes and Dr. Hinnefeld, I created graphics and wrote emails to spread the word about the important event. While doing so, I was surprised by how quiet the fearful voice of failure in my head had become.

And I didn’t lose my old friends and family like I was worried about. They were constantly encouraging me to go after these opportunities. They were always ready for a text message or video call, always full of love and support and pride. Though I missed seeing them in person, I knew they were there.

It hasn’t been perfect, to be sure. I’ve had some of the worst days of my life in my college years, too – sleepless nights of stressing about assignments and obsessing over things I did and could do wrong. But when I look back, the good definitely outweighs the bad.

In the end, I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to go to college. It’s still hard to believe that I’ll be graduating in less than two weeks.

My whole life I’ve worried about disappointing others and myself, but right now? I feel okay. I know my friends, family, and professors are proud of me. I know I’ve pushed myself so hard in spite of my fears, and I’ve done some pretty great things I never expected to do. 

And I’ve gained enough confidence to know I can do them again.