Coming into college I had no idea what was in store for me. The only thing I knew was that I was going to play soccer and take a lot classes, similar to what I’ve done my entire life. My first semester was a learning experience; finally on my own to do whatever I want whenever I pleased. But with that, came great responsibility. I was able to start making decisions for myself, and some of which were not the best looking back on it now. But hey, this is the time for us to learn and develop into the young men and women we were destined to be. I came in as a Kinesiology major thinking I would go into Athletic Training or Physical Therapy in a few years. But with the guidance from my former teammates, they recommended that I take on Health Science as a second major. My second semester I enrolled in Health Science courses and recognized that I have a knack for science and research. The following year, I was taking all Health Science courses and challenging myself every single day. I decided to change my major to only Health Science, and pick up a difficult Chemistry minor along the way. Working in NEC’s NH-INBRE research lab under the guidance of Dr. Lori Koziol really showed me my strengths in and out of the classroom as not only a researcher, but as a leader and mentor to those I worked with. This led me to pursue a future in Physician Assistant studies, as I wish to enter graduate school and become a PA.
On top of this, I was a full-time athlete for the Women’s Soccer team at NEC. This team has taken me to new heights throughout my 4 years here. My passion for the game led me to become a more developed leader, student-athlete, and young woman. I’ve been taught discipline and respect, as they were ongoing themes for my team every day we stepped on that field. I grew close with my coaches and teammates, who became my second family. I knew that these girls always had my back and that I would always have theirs, no matter who it was. The bond my team created will stay with me forever and I can’t thank them enough for the endless memories we’ve created throughout my time here. The countless memories of laughter, tears, and grit really stuck with me, because I was surrounded by so many young women who shared the same goal for not only ourselves as individuals but for each other as a group. Outside of just playing, my team taught me how to be well-rounded as a student. “Academics always comes first,” Paul Vazquez would say, because he knows how important our education was to us. Soccer and school balanced us out, as it taught us how to handle several stressors at the same time but in a manageable way. The young women and coaches I’ve dealt with in my time here have all taught me different lessons, and the experience I’ve had here will carry on into my future.
It’s sad to think that I am leaving behind my small school in New Hampshire, but I know that I will always remember NEC in my heart. Life is full of experiences both good and bad, and that’s what helps us develop into the adults we will become. My well-rounded education, athletics, and extracurriculars have guided me to where I am today and I can’t stress enough how helpful my coaches, teammates, professors, and friends have been to get me to the point I am at now. And for that, I thank you NEC and wish the best of luck to my graduating class.