How I Plan To Honor the Legacy of Thunderbird

By Gillian Reid, Guest Writer 

The end of the school year is always filled with end-of-the-year thoughts and feelings that one wants to share. We are all striving to make our final moments of the year the best of our lives, and want to live out as much of these moments as we can.

Photo Courtesy of Gillian Reid

As a student about to graduate, I know firsthand how much reflection is going on in the minds of my peers. We are all trying to take in the final moments of a campus that has been our home for over 70 years, and absorb all of the things we have come to love about this place. In these moments of reflection, what keeps coming back to my mind is the interactions that I have had with my peers, interactions my peers have had with each other, and interactions between my peers and professors. I have come to the conclusion that no matter what happens after I graduate, there is no reason to hold any grudges or harbor any sort of animosity towards anyone anymore.


Photo Courtesy of Mariah Alexander

At a campus of about 200 students, it is nearly impossible for everyone to get along with everyone else. At some point or another, everyone has had a moment where they have not gotten along with someone else. However, does this mean that the moment will follow them into the future? Will those two people always hate each other? Here’s a better question: should that argument carry on for the rest of their lives?

One day, I was scrolling through Pinterest, and I saw a quote that has stuck with me. At this time I was getting used to my anti-depressants and learning coping mechanisms for whenever I feel overwhelmed. This quote has aided in my interactions with people, and calmed me down more so than pretty much anything else.

The quote reads: “If it doesn’t matter in five years, there is no use spending more than five minutes getting mad about it.” The thing I love about this quote is that it says that it’s okay to get mad about things happening in the present, but at the same time reminds you to always make sure you’re looking to the future. Will it matter in five years if someone made you do extra work because they chose to do nothing on a project? Will it matter in five years when you took your last final? This is something that I always try to remember. Yes, I sometimes forget, but I’m only human and that’s okay.

Photo Courtesy of Gillian Reid

I get REALLY into the Olympics when they are on. This includes researching athletes that will be there, and uncovering the scoring basis of each sport. When the 2012 Olympic athletes were about to be chosen, I remember watching a video of one athlete explaining her dream to become a second-time Olympian. When she was explaining that while she would like to medal again, her mom told her that “in 50 years, people will forget the wins, awards and medals – but they will never forget who you are as a person.”

So, in Thunderbird terms, people will forget the group projects you worked on and the activities you did around campus, but they will never forget how you treated people and who you were as a person.

Photo Courtesy of Daisy Rue

No one will forget what you were like to work with on a team or to spend time with around campus. No one will forget if you were always willing to help where needed, or always smiled coming into class. At the beginning of foundations, our administrators told us how important we are to one another, and they are right. Fifty years from now, what will matter is what you were like as a person, not your GPA.

As we close out the most momentous year of our Thunderbird career, and a dramatic year in Thunderbird’s legacy, it seems apparent that the memories that we made on this campus will last us a lifetime. But while the campus will no longer be the same, the Thunderbird spirit will live on. Whether the campus is on our little island in Glendale or in the busy streets of Downtown Phoenix, we are and forever will be T-birds. So, let’s remember that our connections as T-birds are more important that any drama that may have occurred. What will matter in five years is that we were are T-birds, not the events of our time here on campus.

Photo Courtesy of Gillian Reid

My suggestion is this: close out the year with no regrets, and make sure that you never leave anything unsaid. The legacy of the school is far more important than one group project or one interaction.

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