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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Life is about the people who shape you

Peyton McKenzie

The weeks before graduation are filled with lasts. 

The last time you suffer through a three-hour lecture class, the last time trying to stomach the dining hall food, the last time walking across sticky college bar floors with your roommates, the last time writing for your school newspaper. 

It’s truly bittersweet to think about, reflecting back on the three years of time I gave to this university and this community. But what I treasure most is not the lasts — the fleeting moments before everything changes — but rather the firsts. 

At 21 years old, I have lived a thousand lives. 

“Impossible,” you’re probably thinking. But do you ever wonder how many things you’ve done and how many people you’ve met? Not just your inner circle, but everyone you’ve ever interacted with — friends from middle school, the barista at your favorite coffee shop, your next-door neighbor freshman year. The ground under us is covered in footsteps — of all the places we’ve been, all the places we’re going and all the people we meet. 

Joining The Quinnipiac Chronicle was honestly an accident. A friend had asked me to write a piece about my backpacking trip, and I quickly fell into the routine of writing every week. I had always loved journalism, but once I met all the wonderful people that work for this organization, it became about more than the writing.

I’m a dual-degree business major. But I’m also a member of student government, countless organizations and I run my own internship program. I work a handful of different jobs and I’m always trying to get a new company started. I’m not citing my resume to boast, but to show that the one commonality in all of my random involvements is people.

One of my favorite articles I wrote over my time in Chronicle was about how reinventing yourself is critical to knowing who you are. The story followed my journey with changing my name based on the phase of my life. I once believed the time period I was in determined who I was meant to be, but it had nothing to do with my age and everything to do with who I was around.

While people don’t define you, they do play a role in shaping you. Everyone you meet takes pieces of you and changes them. They move one color to a different place, change its shape and sometimes they will take a piece of you and give it back broken. Sometimes they will not give it back at all. 

But that’s what’s supposed to happen. The people you interact with in life will change you. Some will build you up and make you feel incredibly loved and welcomed, like you deserve to take up space. 

Some will test your strength and try to bring you down. These people will teach you lessons about your own identity, pushing you to figure out what you truly value and ultimately teaching you how to love yourself. 

The shifting of pieces is what creates the mosaic that is your true authentic self. Without the people who accompany us on our journeys, we would be simple, boring even.

I am not measured by my academic achievements or my involvement, not even by my personal interests. I am made up of all the individuals that have coincidentally bumped into me on life’s path — good and bad — and how they gave me new perspectives, life lessons and immense security in my own being.

If there’s one thing I can leave you with as I part ways with all the incredible people who have made me who I am, it’s that the key to understanding who you are and what you want out of life is: don’t pursue opportunities aimlessly. Instead, let someone else guide you through a door you never realized was open.

Thank you to my co-editor Michael LaRocca for being my partner in crime in and out of the organization. I’m forever grateful for you and all your hard work. Thank you to Peyton McKenzie and Jack Muscatello for handling me on Tuesdays. And Lilly Curtin, the future of opinion is yours, you got this! Finally, a big thank you to everyone else who spent countless hours in the media suite with me for playing a role in the person I am today. Good luck to you all, I know amazing opportunities are headed your way.

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About the Contributors
A.J. Newth
A.J. Newth, Opinion Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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