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Katie Byers


by Katie Byers | Feb 08, 2018

101. For Manchester, this is a significant number. Freshman year, we celebrate 101 days of being on campus. It’s a pivotal point of freshman year when you finally begin to feel like Manchester is your new home away from home. You know your way around campus, how things work, and recognize just about everyone as you wander around the mall or eat in the union. Fast-forward 4 years and you celebrate another 101 days. This time, it’s 101 days until commencement. Manchester IS your home and everyone here IS your Spartan family. Tonight, I celebrated my 101 days.


Tonight, we received the letters we wrote to our future selves on the first day during SOL week. The last line of my letter read, “I hope these next 4 years don’t change you and take every opportunity that comes your way”. I couldn’t have been any more wrong. College did change me. It changed me for the better and I’m so thankful it did. I have opened my mind to new ideas and ways of thinking. I involved myself in clubs and activities that never would have crossed my mind freshman year. Coming into college, I hated English, writing, and really anything creative. I was a very science-minded, black and white, type AAA personality. What am I doing now? I write blogs, shoot and edit videos for the marking department, and create recruiting content for the basketball team. I have been able to unlock my creative side and develop better writing skills. Freshman year I wondered how I would ever make it through as a biology-chemistry major. Academically I have grown tremendously. My study habits have improved and my tendency to cram has diminished. I made it through organic and picked up a business minor along the way. I also decided to step outside my comfort zone and study abroad for a whole semester. I left behind everything I knew to live in another country for 4.5 months and it was the best decision of my life. I really grew as a person in New Zealand. I gained confidence in myself and realized I was capable of so much more than I thought. I gained a new sense of independence and appreciation for life. Coming in freshman year I could have never imagined what 4 years at Manchester had in store for me. None of the things I accomplished were mentioned in my letter. Why? Because I didn’t even know it was possible freshman year, that’s what 4 years at Manchester does to you. It changes you. It changes you into a person of ability and conviction ready to take on the real-world after graduation.


So what does 101 mean to me? It is a realization of just how fast time goes by. For the next 101 days, I need to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with new people and strengthen relationships I already have. I have to savor every moment I have left of living with my best friends while being surrounded by a community that cares. I have to make the most of the next 101 days because they will be over in just a blink of an eye. Commencement will come and go, but the memories, lessons, and the family I gained while at Manchester will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Katie Byers '18 is a biology-chemistry major & business minor. A member of MAC and STAT, she studied abroad in New Zealand, and her dream job is to work at an orthopedic hospital.