Some how I managed to make it to graduation


Photo courtesy of Madison White

Madison White takes a photo with the pumpkins at Lone Star Family Farm in Stephenville, Texas during Fall of 2018.

A chapter of my life is coming to a close as I near graduation and start to look forward to the “real world.” My time here spent at Tarleton State University, as well as working for The JTAC have been some of the most memorable years of my life. I have had amazing semesters where I made the dean’s list or just managed to pass my classes and some not so great semesters where I thought I would never make it.

I went through recruitment at the start of my freshman year. I wasn’t sure about being hours away from my family so I thought maybe this was something that I could find the support I needed in Stephenville. Let me tell you, I am so happy I did. The day I accepted my bid from Phi Mu Fraternity I knew that I was going to have that support. I found my big, some of my best friends and people that I look up to.

I applied to work for student publications the second semester of my freshman year. I applied to be a photographer contributor and expected to work in that position for as long as they would let me and never move up to and editor position. I never would have thought that a year and a half later that I would be on staff and write stories occasionally.

Fall 2016 was one of the semesters that I never thought I would have made it through. My parents had just gotten a divorce the summer before which was something that I never was expecting. When October came, my grandfather unexpectedly passed away and I became broken. I started distancing myself from people and from school. I would only talk to one person basically and was putting every ounce of effort to make it through the semester. It was just after Thanksgiving when I was walking to my 8 a.m. Horticulture class when I got a call from my mother saying that my great grandmother died. I was still so broken from my grandfather passing a month before that I couldn’t even fully process what I was going through.

I lost who I was. I started drifting away from my family and those who loved me most. I didn’t what them to see how much it was tearing me up. Everything that I thought I had a hold on felt like it was slipping through my hands. I knew that I needed to grab onto something and get out of this rut that I was falling into. I learned that I needed to cherish every moment I had because I would never know when the last moment would be.

After that semester of heart ache, I put my whole self into everything to try to find myself again. I got all the motivation back to do my school work and managed to get all A’s and B’s. I became historian for my fraternity and would then later become Treasurer of the chapter. I applied for the position that I have now on the editorial board for The JTAC. I also applied and got to spend two summers working at the camp that I went to when I was a kid and that means so much to me. I got an invitation to join Alpha Zeta, which is an honorary, professional society for students and industry professionals in the agriculture and natural resources fields, and Sigma Alpha Pi, or the National Society of Leadership and Success. I was ecstatic to become the Alpha Zeta chapter treasurer.

Getting to be on The JTAC staff as an editor has been the best experience. I have learned how to write a proper news piece. When I started as a contributor, I only took photography assignments. I never would have thought that a couple of months later I would be writing pieces myself and helping to edit others work. I have grown through this position as editor. I absorbed a position and took over more responsibilities my second semester as an editor. I went from just being the assignment editor to being the managing editor.

I am also thankful for the people that I have met through this job. Katherine, Caleb, Shelby, Klaire, Brittainie and so many others have helped me get to where I am today. Honestly, they have encouraged me to take some of the biggest steps in my life and push past the hard stuff that gets thrown at you. This job has also allowed me to meet so many great people that I have interviewed and some amazing experiences that I will never forget. I have gained experience from this job that I never thought would translate into other fields. It has given me leadership, management and organization experience. I learned how to communicate with different types of people as no person communicates the same way.

I am lucky that senior year has been one of the best years since coming to college. I have had the opportunity to live with my best friend since the third day of high school, Emily. I have pushed myself to work harder and apply myself more in classes that I normally would only put half the effort into. I learned to take care of my mental health and not push it under a rug to just pretend like it’s nothing. I restored my relationship with my dad since I distanced myself from him after everything. I have grown super close with my mom as I would lean on her when something wasn’t going right. I am so grateful that I was able to grow closer with my family and I wish that I was able to see them more than I do.

As I near the end of my senior year, have the opportunity to intern with an amazing company over the summer and look forward to graduate in August with a major in Agribusiness Management with a double minor in Business and Horticulture. I can’t help but think back to all the memories that I have made through my four years here at Tarleton. I am grateful to everyone that I have met here and those who have taught me or pushed me to pursue something I was just a little too nervous to do.

Thank you to Phi Mu for sisters that support me far greater than I could imagine. Thank you to Emily for being someone who knows me better than I do, for our random ideas and doing just about everything together since high school. Thank you to everyone who has taught me because I wouldn’t be here without your guidance. Thank you to my parents for supporting me through every little thing I do and being my biggest fans. Although it may not seem like it sometimes, I am so grateful for what you do for me every single day.

Lastly thank you to Tarleton for being my home for these last four years. I will forever hold the memories that I have made here at Tarleton in my heart and will always remember that the “gates are always opened.”