Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

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Graduation is more than just a tassel

When I was 15, I took a driver’s education class to get my driver’s permit–nothing out of the ordinary there.

Yet, my driving instructor was anything but ordinary.

In between rants on shoes and what snacks were best to eat, this El-Paso-loving-Brussels-sprout-eating-veteran said something in one of the classes that I have kept going back to during my four-and-a-half years at UTEP.

“Graduating high school is something you’re supposed to do, but graduating from a university or college, that’s an accomplishment,” he said.

At first, I thought he was wrong. Going to college should also be something that you’re supposed to do, especially with today’s competitive mentality among all graduates.

This mentality I’m talking about is the one instilled implicitly from day one of classes—if you don’t have at least a bachelor’s degree when you apply for a job, you won’t get it or be as successful as your degree-bearing colleagues.

But then I progressed in my undergraduate career and my own mentality began to shift.

Getting a full-time job at The Prospector, double majoring in psychology and journalism, joining honors organizations, taking reading and writing-intensive courses, getting married and becoming pregnant in the middle of all of it…

I’m graduating, and it feels like a breath of fresh air.

I can see what that crazy driving instructor of mine was talking about. Maybe he wasn’t so crazy after all.

It truly is an accomplishment to be graduating this semester from UTEP—working those long nights with my award-winning staff to produce award-winning newspapers and magazines, those one-too-many happy hour trips to Hope & Anchor with Jasmine to blow off steam, staying in on weekends to catch up on my readings for class because I was too busy during the week fundraising for Alpha Lambda Delta, late-night phone calls with my then-fiancée as I cried 1,725 miles away from El Paso, interning in D.C., and trying to listen to him as he told me to push forward and everything would be okay if I just believed in myself.

And now I do. All of those experiences had to come first before I could learn the art of confidence and truly believe in myself. UTEP allowed me to engage with so many people, and the newspaper provided me with so many opportunities to truly evolve into a better person.

I’m grateful for each experience I’ve come across, and I’m especially grateful to have consistently been surrounded by people who believed in the same vision as I did.

To my staff this semester: the quirky hipster, the bohemian smoker, the broadcasting princess, the singing sports fanatic, the fitness guru, the photo magician, the rapping videographer, all of the reporters, photographers, the controversial cartoonist, the advertising staff, Vero, Isabel and Marcie – thank you.

You’ve made my last few days at UTEP and El Paso memorable ones.

Thank you to Kathy and David for being my second set of parents. In my times of doubt and fright, you provided me clarity and reassurance. It always felt good to share my accomplishments and worries with you both because I knew that your insight would make me invincible. Thank you for always having an open ear and tissue ready.

And a special thank you to my husband for being my scholarly trainer, pushing me to do my best and giving me doses of brutal honesty when I needed them, and thank you to my family for being my cheerleaders in all that I have done.

After graduation, I’ll be going overseas with my husband and baby-to-be, but I still have no idea what I’ll be doing.

I’m nervous and scared, but I imagine that’s how the rest of the graduating class feels–at least partially.

The process will start over for me as I furiously apply for foreign jobs and rush to learn a language I barely understand now.

But one thing will never leave me–the memories from The Prospector and all of the experiences that came from working there.

They will fuel my motivation to continue being the best I can be and accomplish the goals I set for myself every day.

The clock has struck, the chimes are half a year overdue and a new horizon awaits me beyond the blue vastness.

Good luck to the next batch of editors and future staff members of the paper. Be humble and don’t forget where you come from. We all have to start somewhere.

Lorain Ambrocio may NOT be reached at [email protected].

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Graduation is more than just a tassel