Graduation Time

A warm summer wind flutters the graduation hat"s tassel. It’s time to say goodbye to the best 5-year experience of my life. It’s time to say goodbye to ITMO.

Buddy System in Yagodnoe. Photo courtesy of author.

I remember the day I first saw ITMO university. It was a hot summer day and Kronverkskiy hall was very crowded. I talked to a girl from the admissions campaign and after 5 minutes of being there, I fell in love. I saw so many opportunities falling in my hands, so many ways to express my young confused mind, so many steps I could take to rise higher and higher — I just needed to put myself out there. And I did.

After the first dust settled I felt that I was in the right place. I was learning something new every day, I was meeting new exciting open-minded people and having the very first experiences of my life. There were ups and downs sometimes but in the end, I stuck to the positive side of being a student.

At the end of the second year, I felt a little bit tired. I realized that being 18 and deciding your future career may not be the best social construct. I loved ITMO but sometimes my specialization didn’t feel right. I was even thinking of changing it to something else. (Un)fortunately, I didn’t know what that something else was. And at this moment of doubt, I got a call from Buddy System. I applied for it one semester later but I didn’t have time to show up for the English test because of the exams, afterwards, I just forgot about it. And now at the very right time, I was told that my application form was found and they wanted to interview me to become a Buddy! Maybe it was destiny, maybe just a coincidence but when I started being a Buddy for international students, once more I felt that I was in the right place. I started helping out international students, made a bazillion great friends, the next semester I went on exchange to Germany and then after some time I got a job at the Internationalization Department at ITMO. There I met amazing people, helped to create content for social media, took care of some essentials for Soft Skills teachers and even learned how to do important paperwork. I learned so much from all of these experiences that I can’t even imagine doing something else instead.

And now here I am. Leaving all of that behind. Feels…weird but, on the other hand, kind of exciting. I’m very grateful to ITMO for knowledge, skills, friends, love, countless opportunities, international experiences, opening my eyes to the world, teaching me how to grow every day and how to get over some difficulties and especially for being my family. I’m looking forward to seeing many more great things from ITMO. I’m way too bad at goodbyes but it’s not a farewell, it’s "See you soon!"

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