Becoming your fullest self

It’s incredible, all of the emotions and frantic thoughts that go through a senior’s brain this time of year.


There’s the “what am I going to do with my life” stream of consciousness that never seems to be a concrete thought, but rather a constant cloud of panic that floats over our heads. Then there are the expressions of “I can’t believe how quickly graduation is coming” and the feeling that maybe we blinked too many times and missed something on our way to independent adulthood. And of course, there’s always a moment for most seniors when a Dana’s induced conversation leads to the feeling that we are going to miss so many people who have made our journey at Xavier so special. These are all clichés that still somehow resonate with all of us. Still, it’s hard to encapsulate everything that my experience here has taught me and all of the emotions and thoughts that I’m currently having about the end of my Xavier career and the life that’s ahead of me. But for now, I am so thankful for and so immersed in the Xavier community.


I still remember the excitement of driving to Xavier to move into Kuhlman on the Thursday before Manresa. As soon as I stepped out of the car and was greeted by a swarm of neon shirts, I was overwhelmed with the joy and energy that I had been waiting to feel all summer. That night, I looked out of my window over the hills behind Cintas Center and felt a sense of purpose and peace — I was in a new place, and I relished the endless possibilities of my new life here.


Four years later, I still look through my window over Cintas, excited for the great unknowns that wait for me beyond Xavier. But this time, I call this place my home as I try to soak in all of the appreciation that I have for the people and events that have helped me to grow on my journey to become my fullest self.

Looking back on my last four years, all I can say is that I have been truly blessed. This, of course, is not to say that all of my time here has been wonderful, but it has been meaningful. And I am so much better because of it. Some of the most formative times of my Xavier career have come in sleepless nights, in confronting difficult questions during walks around campus or in meaningful conversations with friends.


I firmly believe that I would not have had such a life-bringing four years here without the struggle that inherently comes throughout college. Xavier would not have had such a positive impact on me, either, without the incredible people who make the Xavier community so special. And this is why, at the end of it all, I’ll take the lessons that I have learned here and the relationships that I have formed and bring them with me through every step of my life.


To conclude this reflection, I’ll give a few (hopefully helpful) pieces of advice for the underclassmen at Xavier. First, know that everything will work out. Everything is important, so take it for what it is and move forward in the best way you can while being as open as possible. Next, be sure to leave time for genuine connection with peers, faculty and staff, and be sure to find time to honestly assess your day and reflect on who you are, who you are becoming and who you want to become. Having only a month left, this is the time that I want to savor and that I wish I had more of during my time here.


Finally, follow your passions, do the best you can every day to trust in yourself and to be you and work hard to be the best you can be for other people, and the rest will take care of itself. I want give a thousand thanks (and hugs), over and over, to the Xavier community and all of the people who have made my journey so incredible over these four years. I know that a part of my heart will always reside here.


Tim Wilmes is a graduating senior majoring in theology and marketing from St. Louis. He is the Sports Editor of the Newswire.