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Student to student: I will always be a Badger at heart

May 5, 2021 By Chelsea Hylton

I have written and rewritten this piece a couple of times now. As a graduating senior I am trying to choose the right words to include in one of my last published articles as an undergraduate student.

Let me begin by saying that it is absolutely crazy to think that my time at UW–Madison has come to an end. It may sound cliche to say, but if you would’ve told my high school self that I would spend four years in Wisconsin, I would’ve just laughed.

This was on my first visit to UW right before graduating from high school.

Looking back at the four years I have spent here, I am utterly grateful for all the opportunities this university has granted me.

I have been able to tutor students in the local Madison community through the PEOPLE Program, I have interviewed Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson, met activist Angela Davis, been in the press box at football games, led the only Black student-run publication on campus, and so many more things.

Don’t get me wrong: All four years were not completely glorious. There were many low points through my undergrad years, including having family members pass away, the COVID-19 pandemic causing our school to shut down, and a good amount of emotional breakdowns that also took place.

I do think that it was during my time at UW that I was able to ultimately grow professionally, socially, and emotionally. I learned how important my work is as an individual and the impact that it can have on people. I learned the value of making every moment count and I also learned that it is okay to not be okay.

Here I am getting ready to graduate with two BA’s in Journalism and Spanish.

I have also met an incredible group of friends that have allowed me to be vulnerable and not be afraid of showing emotion even when I feel I need to put on a brave face.

UW has allowed me to find myself and has allowed me to meet people that will forever stay engraved in my heart. I’d also never thought that I’d say this, but I will also miss the beautiful snowy mornings when everything is covered and still.

Coming to UW I did not think I would fit in. I thought I would feel like just another number in a big lecture hall or feel like a small mustard seed. But I was able to find community in my Posse family, the Red Gym, and in so many different places on campus.

When I look back on the community I was able to build I will think back to moments like Melanin Fest out on Library Mall, having a huge study sesh in College Library until the early mornings (snacks were always required), and the chosen family that was by my side every step of the way.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have pictured myself covering a football game for my school at the Rose Bowl or getting to design an entire magazine from scratch. But it all happened here in my time at UW.

Thank you, UW for helping me experience life with a new pair of eyes, an adventurous mind, and an open heart.

After leaving Wisconsin I will be continuing my academic career in pursuit of my master’s in journalism at USC.

I may be becoming a Trojan but I will forever remain a Badger for life. On, Wisconsin!

Tags: student life