Blog post by our Vice President of Public Relations, Joan Giffels. She also updates her personal blog which you can find here: Enjoy this as you ease back into classes tomorrow, Lakers! We hope everyone has a great semester. 

This is a blog post entailing new information acquired and self discoveries made this summer. Disclaimer, Beyonce will be on the VMA’s soon so expect little to no proofreading. 

Before realizing what day it was I figured I should sit down and blog tonight. It’s the last night of summer vacation for me, so naturally I should update my blog. “Yep, great idea Joan.” But it’s not just the last night of summer. It’s the night before my last year of college. Tomorrow I am a senior in college.

No, I didn’t forget my class standing. Believe me, Senioritis is far too powerful a thing for that to happen. No. I think I truly hadn’t grasped the reality of the end of college yet. I feel like today I woke up and I missed sophomore and junior year (not really because I remember them and they were both excellent years). It really does come as a shock though. A year from now I will be using the phrase “when I was in college,” which honestly may be the most bizarre part for me. How am I already about to complete this huge part of my life that I feel like I started? How in the world am I about to be looking back on “the College years”? 

Soon I will be giving college students, like my 17 year old sister, college-related advice. Soon I’m an official alumni. Soon I may attend a Grand Valley PRSSA meeting as an Alumni speaker. Soon I’ll be asked to donate to my school. Soon I won’t register for classes ever again (I hope and pray). Soon I might not be in Grand Rapids. Soon I may never use a backpack again (double hope, double pray). And soon I won’t get student discounts. 

These are obviously realizations all of different levels of importance, but the main thing for you to know is I’m coming to terms with all of this tonight so just bear with me because it’s… a lot. 

The second thing is that I’m still doing well. So so so well. I’m smiling while I’m typing this. I’m coping with the moments of panic I feel after acknowledging all of this uncertainty and closure ahead with friends old and new. With PRSSA friends. With GrandPR friends. With Fashion Club friends. With classmates. With family. With the boyfriend. Storms weathered together are the best kind. Plus, it’s a good scary. I am a lover of change and the end of college is sure to open the door to the next adventure. Like Scary Spice from the Spice Girls, it’s a good scary. Yes her style is unexpected and wild, but she is ultimately harmless and just wants to sing and hang out with her Spice friends. Similar to my future I’d say. 

So I’m not worried.

The third point. The ways in which I have changed. This summer alone has changed and improved so many things about me. Imagine how much cooler am now than I was as a freshman! In all honesty I was the most annoying, arrogant, overly-confident freshman so be glad you didn’t know me. Present-Joan certainly grew a lot of ways this summer though. Specifically in ways such as:

1. Time Management. Not only do I know how much time I need to be ready (about 60 minutes flat in the mornings. Yeah, I know just leave me alone), but I also do what I need to do right away. The time I spend lolly-gagging rate has dropped tremendously since the beginning of the summer and that’s honestly huge for me. With my necessary caffeine intake amount, I am a working machine. I multi-task like mad and get where I need to be on time. Usually. About 85% of the time. Still working on my punctuality, sorry high school teachers. 

2. Happy Face-ing. This could be my largest improvement yet. Hiding my lousy attitude to the world on some days was once a giant downfall of mine. Now, with the amount of events I worked and the thousands of people I have interacted with at each, I can enter a persona in which I’m just the jolliest thing you ever met. I impress myself constantly with how much of a sport I am baking in 85 degree weather chatting with a family about McDonald’s breakfast menu items. It’s not being fake, it’s doing your job so well that you actually begin to forget that you’re bored/hot/tired/annoyed. Pats on the back for me. 

3. Over-committing myself. Everyone knows I am the queen of this. I deserve a massive, sparkling golden tiara for the amount of times I’ve piped up and said “yeah I can be there!” or “I will help!” or “here let me do it.” While it sounds like I’m just nice, it’s a serious problem sometimes and it all comes back to the fact that I’m a bit of a control freak. So after this long season of volunteering myself way too much to the point where fun is very limited and I end up missing things I actually care about, I’ve learned to ease back. I can feel myself taking on too much and I think I know when to let other people take over.

If you were wondering what’s new and happening with my individual growth, there are your answer(s). Somewhere in between bouts of graduation anxiety, exhausted joy, and improving my faults, you’ll find me. And Scary Spice. Hanging out. Cheers to my last first day of school tomorrow.