My last final. I'm nervous, but profoundly sad. This is real-I'm no longer going to be an undergrad. I just want to share part of the story about how I got here. And why it rips my heart out to leave.

TL;DR: I felt like college was my only home. Read it if you have time.

I never expected much of myself. Yeah, I was great at school. Excelled. However, I was shit at math (turns out I have a legitimate learning disorder that actually prevents me from comprehending it). I can't speak another language (same learning disorder). Shit SAT score. I was sick for a lot of my childhood/teenage years. Then came leaving my high school English class every two days for therapy. I was on the edge.

I applied to the school I'm leaving on a whim. I never thought I'd get in-only a few out of many are accepted. People would kill to get that acceptance letter.

I got an email one night about which dorm there I wanted to live in. Home alone. I realized "Oh my God-I got in!". That was my lonely victory. Everyone else was at my brothers rugby game. I was basically brushed off at first. Then-it became real to my family. I was going to move far away to my current city. I was going to attended one of the best schools in the world.

I beat out all the other kids who thought I was an idiot. They even asked how someone like me got into their dream school, when they didn't.

For the first time in my life, at age 18, I made the first real friends I've ever had. For the first time in 18 years, other than a lot of my high school teachers, I was respected. I began to see I can write. In fact-super secret thing, coming up if I'm approved- is related to that.

Did I have my battles? Yes. Did I fight them? Yes. Was I still supported by my real family (my group of friends and professors)? Absolutely. People gave a damn. Professors gave me chances to work with them. Told me that I was the memorable student, the one who was both amusing and charismatic, and had the insights no one else had. I inadvertently mentored people who were lost at my school.

My point is that I went from a self loathing mess who didn't accept she was good enough for anything, to a confident young lady. This school-this city-gave me a fresh start.

This place saved my life. To say goodbye-well, to being an official undergraduate (super top secret thing will be sponsored by the school)-rips my heart out.

This was the first step to a future. I have some ideas of what I want to do. I may not have the most outstanding GPA, but I have no regrets. I did it the right way-I did it my way.

And now, after four and a half years, the curtain is going to close at 5pm tonight. I'll drink the whole bottle of Rosé I've been saving.

To that unhappy ten year old, who she thought would be nothing-I wish I could tell her she just had to wait eight more years to realize she had it in her all along. She had the right to be happy.