SENIOR COLUMN: Make the Capstone yours and be proud of itBy Haley Loflin | 04/29/2017 6:34pm
I have always known that I wanted to impart stories from my four years at the Capstone. My mind has swirled these last few weeks about advice, topics, and theses, but mostly how I would avoid sounding clichéd or worse – basic. In the past four years, I think that I have taken every opportunity and capitalized on it; some, better than others. Whatever you gain from reading this – allow this to be my message: make the Capstone yours and be proud of it. It is yours for the molding.
As someone who had worn orange and blue for nine years (yikes) and signed her first college test with the Norfolk Academy Honor Code (double yikes), I began college as a small school girl lost in a sea of 37,000 people. Four years later, I still trust everyone blindly and leave my backpack without hesitation for a quick walk to Starbucks, and wish we had a stronger sense of Honor here. So from this, I would advise maintain your personal sense of honor and integrity in all situations.
Adaptations quickly ensued my Freshman fall: I pledged Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, fervently gathered oversized T-shirts, and sought involvement opportunities. First Year Council did not turn out in my favor, but Freshman Forum did, and I was selected as Pledge Class President. Later that fall, I would lose a spot on Executive Council by a handful of votes. Somehow, I ended my college career having run the largest recruitment in the country and a chapter of 400+ girls with six of my sisters and best friends, in addition to being a two-time SGA Attorney General. In between those two bookends of my college experience was time spent on little jobs, sitting in meetings, and working towards goals that seemed so distant. During my time in those two positions I learned that setting an example through actions is not always the easiest but often most necessary and how to view decisions through many lenses. So in short, seize every opportunity, be patient, work hard, remember that the best form of leadership is by example, and always keep your eye on the prize.
I am thankful that I came of college age in the era of Fitbits, Apple watches and the general fitness tracking craze. It has allowed me to quantify a guilty pleasure of mine – a power walk through the neighborhoods of Tuscaloosa or around the Quad. A walk, whether with a good podcast or a dear friend is good for the heart, figuratively and physically. It is on these walks over the past four years I’ve caught up with friends, planned for the future, and occasionally enjoyed a Stella Artois in the middle (after December 2015, that is.) No matter how often it was between walks, always make time for the things that matter, be present and to learn something from everyone you meet.
Sitting at Bama Bound, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Honestly, I still don’t. Originally, I wanted to become a Diplomat and join the Foreign Service. To do that, I “needed” to attend Georgetown. To do that, I had to take Econ 110 and 111, one as a prerequisite and one for my International Studies major. Get the picture? On top of this, I was going to graduate in two and a half years, so I needed another degree so that I could stay for all four years (and football seasons). While I was home for my first break, friend of my mentor encouraged me, “always take Accounting over Art History.” Ironically, I took Art History during my first semester, but it made an impression on me that I should want to belong in the business world. I enjoyed going to class in Bidgood, found the topics offered in Culverhouse interesting, and even though I was slightly intimidated, I took a chance and declared a second degree. I am incredibly glad I took the chance to try a major that was out of my comfort zone, an experience that benefitted me while job hunting. Nonetheless, my four years here have found me in the classes of wonderful, talented, and fascinating professors. Professor McCalpine, Professor Gomez, Dr. Houston, Dr. Ford and Dr. Steinbock-Pratt – thank you for all that you all do; I am lucky to have been a student in your class. From this my charge – accept who you are and chase what you enjoy, take time to interact with your professors, and find mentors to lean on.
These vignettes are but a small sampling of my four years here. I have grown immensely as a person and will forever be thankful that I was able to attend this amazing University (thanks, Mom and Dad.) To those lucky enough to still be enrolled here, a few more things:
Be less hard on yourself and even less so on others.
Respect those whose feelings differ from yours.
If it feels good – don’t do it
Enjoy the spotlight
Make friends outside your circle.
Don’t go it alone.
Leave things better than you found them.
And most important of all -- be proud of yourself and your Alma Mater, no matter what. Roll Tide.
Haley Loflin is a senior majoring in International Studies and Management originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She served as a two-time Attorney General of the Student Government Association in the Spillers and Roth Administrations, as Membership Vice President of her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, and twice as a Homecoming Director. After graduation, she will be moving to Houston, Texas, to work as an Analyst for Regions Bank.