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Sep. 3, 2019

Alaina Pierson: Dear Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad,

The time has come: I am officially a senior in college.

That phrase is mind-blowing. It's scary. It's new. It's exciting. It didn't even hit me until I walked into my first lecture that today begins the firsts of many lasts. Not only for myself, but for you guys.

As you both know, college isn't always easy. To make it this far is astonishing. There were many obstacles along the way, both mental and physical. I wouldn't have been able to get through them without constant support from both of you. You two have been my number one cheerleaders since day one.

From the first moment you dropped me off, you knew that I would come back a different person. I couldn't imagine how hard it must have felt to leave your only daughter at a big, scary university. It had to be sad because the house was going to become quieter. It had to be prideful because you knew I was starting a new chapter. It had to be precious because the concept of time was becoming real.

I just want to say I cannot thank you enough for everything that you both do. You two have instilled in me the values that I have today. You two have inspired me to become a better person. You two drive me to accomplish my goals. I wouldn't be who I am and where I am without you.

This is the last year of chaotic moving. This is the last year of football games. This is the last year of lunch/dinner dates. This is the last year of hearing about my struggles as a college student. This is the last year of coming home for breaks. This is the last year for unexpected visits to home. This is the last year of phone calls and asking for advice. This is the last year of sad goodbyes and happy hellos.

However, it is a year of firsts. It is the first year that I step into the real world. It is the year that I say goodbye to my home away from home. It is the first year that I start applying to graduate programs. It is the year that reality starts to hit me like a train. It is the year that I obtain what I have dedicated my time to all these years: my degree.

I cannot wait for you two to see that moment. The moment where I walk across that stage. The moment where I am dressed in my cap and gown. The moment where they call my name, and I am announced as an official alumna of Michigan State University.

In that moment, I want you to be proud. When I graduate, I won't be the little girl that you dropped off at Holmes Hall in August of 2016. I will be a young woman who is not only college educated- but ready to take on the world by storm.

This wouldn't have been possible without you two by my side. Thank you for saying that you can get whatever you want in life as long as you work for it. Thank you for teaching me to never give up. Thank you for teaching me to be resilient and persistent. Thank you for never letting me settle.

Thank you for letting me dream big. Thank you for teaching me to be compassionate and kind. Thank you for telling me not to sweat the small stuff. Thank you for all the hugs, laughs and kisses throughout the years. Thank you for teaching me balance. Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on when life as a student became overwhelming.

Even after I graduate, I want to continue to uphold my foundation. This foundation wouldn't be there without your construction of it. This foundation is who I am, who I was and who I will be.

Mom and Dad, I want you to know that I love you so much. I cannot fathom how I have gotten to this moment. The four years flew by, just like you said they would. I cannot thank you enough for blessing me with the experience of a college education. The memories and lessons I've learned will last a lifetime.

All I can say is this: we've made it.