The End of an Era: College

If you’ve read my blog at all this past semester, you would’ve noticed that I wasn’t posting all that much. Although yes, my classes and my internships were time-consuming (to say the least), that wasn’t exactly why I wasn’t posting. If you’ve ever graduated, whether it be college, high school or middle school, you’ll know that as you look back, you’ll realize that you’ve changed.

As my college career comes to a close, I think it’s time for me to reflect on myself.

Also, you’ll all be happy to know that I’m including a lot of different outfits for you guys (a couple formals, honors convocation, Gael Awards, my birthday, senior toasts, graduation…the list honestly goes on since this post has been in the works for a while). But before I get to the outfits, I first need to get to myself.

I can confidently say that I’m not the same person that I was as a freshman. Although I’m really not all that different at my core (I never sacrificed my beliefs, morals or ethics), I did create the person whom I want to be. I am proud of who I’ve become because I worked so hard to become her.

College has allowed me to mature and develop, both in my personality and with my style.

Here’s what they don’t tell you about college: Through all of the classes and the exams and the long hours, you’re not just building your GPA or your future. You’re building your fundamentals. Because of college, I learned what effort looked like. Anything that is worth having, takes effort..whether it be grades, friendships, relationships, working out, etc. “Nothing worth having comes easy.”

I learned that I don’t like to give up and I never will. I learned that I like challenges and that I like to be the girl that does it all and does it all well. I learned that I will never back down from something because I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. I adapt and I do it. I enjoy helping others and being someone that others look to and go to for advice. I like taking care of others. College made me feel like a more well-rounded person; that’s what I mean when I say college gave me my fundamentals.

I learned some hard lessons. I learned what happiness truly is. I learned “to live and let god.” I found some good quotes to get me through when things just weren’t going my way (thank you, Pinterest). I got to experience so many things and crossed just as many things off of my bucket list. I had people who treated me poorly and I had people who treated me like family…I learned to love them both just the same. I learned that everything that happens, both good and bad, is part of the plan. All of these experiences are just shaping you to be who you’re meant to be. It’s just up to you which direction you’re going to go in.

These last four years haven’t been easy for me. I’m not going to lie. But you know what? At the end of that day, I know that I’m a better person because of it. I’ve learned to appreciate good things, and good people, when they happen in my life. I never thought I’d say this but I’m so lucky to have gone through all of the tough times because those tough times make the good times that much greater. So full disclaimer before you read any further: this post isn’t for me…It’s for everyone who’s impacted my life positively in the last four years. So from the bottom of my heart, and you’ll never know how much I truly mean it, Thank you!

Now that I’ve rambled and gotten all nostalgic, I think it’s time to get to my outfits.

Volleyball Formal: I’m obsessed with this dress. Not only was it fun to wear but I got to fulfill one of my lifelong goals of looking like a mermaid that night. Special appearance from Karly.

Dress: Charlotte Russe: http://www.charlotterusse.com/product/Dresses/Party-Dresses/Scalloped-Sequin-Bodycon-Dress/pc/3021/c/0/sc/3517/286321.uts

Shoes: Call it Spring. No longer available.

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Honors Convocation: This dress is perfect to dress up or dress down. It’s really up to you. I wore black wedges to give it a little umph but it’s perfectly fine on its own as well. Also, say hello to my brother and sister…I may be the oldest but I certainly don’t look like it. When my sister put on my grad robe, people thought that she was the one who was graduating…story of my life.

Dress: http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspx?BR=f21&Category=dress_fit-and-flare&ProductID=2000100846&VariantID=  Although my dress is sold out, Forever 21 has a lot that are very similar! I definitely suggest browsing through their site!

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Gael Awards: This dress made me feel like Marilyn Monroe. In the words of Monroe herself, “You must feel attractive to be attractive.” This dress did just that for me. I don’t typically go for the low neck-line but I’m glad I did. This dress was flow-y and I just wanted to spin around in it all night! Amy and James were a few to spin along with me…what are friends for, right??

Dress: http://www.charlotterusse.com/product/Dresses/Party-Dresses/Plunging-Sweetheart-Skater-Dress/pc/3021/c/0/sc/3517/286325.uts

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Mother’s Day: For those of you who know me, you know how close I am with my family, especially my mother. I call Mother’s Day, “let’s celebrate how awesome my best friend is,” day. There aren’t enough words I have to thank my mom (and dad) for what they’ve given me. I’m so fortunate to have two such amazing people to look up to each and every single day. I love you both so much and I know that you’ll read this post (eventually) so just know how much I love and appreciate you every single day.

Tank-top: it’s just a simple white one from The Limited. I wear it all the time. It’s super comfortable!

Skirt: Alice + Olivia Flora Metallic Tweed Mini Skirt. It’s not available anymore but here’s one that’s very similar: http://www.aliceandolivia.com/elana-mini-skirt-11.html

Shoes: Jack Rogers: http://www.jackrogersusa.com/womens-designer-shoes/jacks-sandals

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22nd Birthday Lunch: “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.” -Taylor Swift. This last month has been extremely emotional for me. Between work and school getting the best of me; between unforeseen complications; between getting older and graduating and losing people whom I thought I was close, I’ve really been through and I’ve really seen it all these past three months. Needless to say, I didn’t have high expectations for my birthday. I had an 8am final and we all know how badly I totally did not want to be there. But the overwhelming amount of love I received from friends and family brought tears to my eyes. I’m honestly tearing up a little bit now thinking about how fortunate I am to have such wonderful people in my life at this point in time. I want to write some of the things people sent me, not to boost my ego or prove myself to you, but to show you how much you can be affecting someone without even knowing it. I honestly had no idea how much I meant to these people; I just knew how much they meant to me.

These are only a couple of texts/emails but so many people reached out to me via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Like I said, I was honestly blown away because I had no idea. So once again, this post is for you and thank you for all of your love and constant support.

“Happy birthday to a smart, beautiful woman that I get the chance to call one of my best friends. There has been some rough patches this year but you have raised to meet them and defeated them with class and grace. You are always there for me no matter what so here is to you, Marisa. I hope you have a lovely birthday and I was I could celebrate with you!! Love you girly! #feeling22” -Cara

“So I am going to be out of the country saving babies when you turn 22 but I don’t want you to think that I forgot because I didn’t! So congrats on graduating and HAPPY 22ND BIRTHDAY! I’m so proud of you and I’m sad I don’t get to be there and that we don’t get to graduate together. I hope you can make it to Texas! Love you and have a great weekend!” -Sara

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOVE OF MY LIFE!!! Literally cannot even begin to express how blessed I feel that you have walked into my life and have become one of my best friends. Despite everything, you’ve handled it all with such poise, grace and class. I look up to that immensely. You are incredible. I literally want to be like you. I hope you enjoy your day. You literally deserve the world.” -Ariana

“Happy birthday! It’s been a pleasure knowing you these last two years. I’m going to miss you so much next year. I hope you have an amazing day and best of luck in everything! Your future is so bright. You’re one of the nicest, most humble students on campus and you’re career-oriented and always willing to help others. I love you!” -Meral

“Happy birthday! Marisa, I don’t think you realize how you touch people’s lives…and that’s the beauty of it. You affect people’s lives for the better and you don’t even try. You just do it. You are an amazing person, you truly are. It’s been amazing being your friend since freshman year. Your smile lights up a room. You’re amazing and please don’t forget that.” – James (pictured above at Gael Awards; he used to brush and blow dry my hair freshman year for fun)!

“Marisa, happy birthday! I just wanted to take this time to tell you that I, we, recognize how much you do for Iona, especially Iona Athletics. You might not be the one getting all of the awards, but you’re always the one who is working the hardest. We just wanted you to know that we see you, we always have, and that we really appreciate it.” -Mike

“Happy birthday, Marisa! I did a little research for your birthday this year. I know how much you love pearls…and it turns out that it’s extremely fitting that you’ve chosen the pearl to be your symbol. Pearls are purported to clarify thoughts during moments of decision. Pearls symbolize purity, spiritual transformation, charity, honesty, feminine wisdom and integrity. Pearls remind us to walk with dignity. Pearls not only provide a mirror into which we see ourselves, but give us insight into how we appear to others. The ragged, rough grain of sand, transformed over time, slowly growing into an object of great value and beauty. With its humble beginning, pearls symbolize innocence and pure heart, and help us get in touch with the simple, honest things in life. I love you very much! Have a great day!” -My Aunt Nancy (I loved her note so much that I HAD to include it…because it obviously made me cry. Duh).

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Just some of my best Gael Friends (Michelle, Kara, Brianne and Zoe)…Oh, and Iona College’s mascot is a Gael, hence “Gael friends.”

Tank-top: Express. Just a random color; Skirt: Love-Culture. No longer available; Shoes: Jack Rogers

Senior Formal: It was only fitting that my last final ever was the morning of senior formal. Senior formal was literally just celebrating surviving the last couple of weeks of college and finals being over. It was basically a glorified prom with provided alcohol. I decided to splurge a little bit and actually got my hair and makeup done.

Before hair and makeup:

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Hair: http://www.vghairdesignstudio.com/ Ask for Carmel. I know her personally because we go to the gym together. Not only can she kick ass, but she’s a sweetheart and does an amazing job!

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Makeup: https://www.benefitcosmetics.com/ Benefit was awesome. They did a great job and they were so nice! I didn’t pay for them to do my makeup; I just paid for some products after they were done. I’ll do a follow-up post on the make-up I took home!

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Dress: Bloomingdale’s: http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/aqua-dress-sleeveless-lace-scalloped-hem?ID=1296904&CategoryID=21683&LinkType=#fn=DRESS_OCCASION%3DEvening/Formal;;Cocktail%26spp%3D48%26ppp%3D96%26sp%3DNull%26rid%3DNull

Necklace and Ring: David Yurman:

http://www.davidyurman.com/products/women/necklaces-and-chains/crossover-pearl-pendant-necklace-with-diamonds-n11781dss.html?lpos=PLP-55&item=n11781dssdpedi&source=plp

http://www.davidyurman.com/products/women/collections/cerise/petite-albion-ring-with-diamonds-7mm-gemstone-r07444dss.html?lpos=PLP-57&item=r07444dssdpedi&source=plp

Below are just some pictures from formal with some really good friends.

Roomie pic: Carly, Allie, Bri, Me

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My bff and cute formal date, Kara:

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Just because I played a sport, doesn’t mean I don’t consider these sorority girls my sisters (Mags and Jam):

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Two of my fav people since freshman year, Gabby and Thomas:

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The Big Day: Graduation

If any of you reading this are friends with me on snapchat (if not: mtmsky), then you probably saw that graduation was a day of conflicted emotions…and alcohol. First, I couldn’t wait to leave. I just wanted to get out. But as the day went on, I started to get sad…because these really were the best four years of my life. I know I said that they were tough, and they were. Most times they were really awful, but like I also said, I got some pretty great friends out of them. Here are just a couple pictures from the day.

Graduation was at MSG but unfortunately, no…we didn’t get to watch the Rangers game…even though we were pretty much separated by just a wall.

Roomies and I at Grand Central.

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When we finally made it to MSG, we felt a selfie was necessary.

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After graduation concluded…finally, a picture with my entire family! Then, just Dad and me.

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My best friend, Melanie. This is my person. She’s listened to me cry, complain, laugh, and whatever else. She’s always there for me. There really aren’t enough good words I can say about Melanie…but I think “this is my person” covers it. Thank you for being my best friend when I least expected it…and letting me sleep over and eat ice cream until I fell asleep…also being my FMPFL 😉

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It was about time a snapchat picture showed up in one of my blog posts. Some great friends and some great food: Melanie, Dylan, Peter and my entire family.

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Curious about where we ate? Don’t worry, I gotcha covered: Marta. I must say, the head chef is pretty awesome (Disclaimer: I’m related to him…BUT I’m not saying the food was awesome just because I’m related to him. I was SERIOUSLY blown away!).

http://www.martamanhattan.com/

This restaurant is a great place for business dinners or grabbing drinks with friends. From when we walked in, to the time we left, Marta was constantly busy. There were hardly any seats.

This was my sister’s graduation gift to me. If you have time to read it, please, please do. She wrote this for me a full two years ago. I had no idea she even cared ahahaha Just kidding, Jenna! Love you!

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I know I just threw a lot at all of you…and if you made it through the whole post, let me know so I can send you a fruit basket or something. I don’t know…I just don’t think I’d read this whole thing. So if you did, Thank you! I have a couple more posts in the works so I promise you guys won’t have to wait too much longer for another post. And I really promise that it won’t be this long, either.

Before I let you guys go, I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you one last time. Thank you, thank you, thank you (okay, maybe 3 more times). For those of who who received my notes, I meant what I said: you’ll always have a friend in me.

To the class of 2015, forever a Gael,

xoxo,

Ris

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