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Looking back while moving forward

By Michael Fleming, '12

Four years ago, I stepped on campus for Admitted Student's Day as a shy high school senior.

I stood on the steps of Belk Chapel, quiet and distant while my parents spoke with a current student. I blinked, and before I knew it I was watching my hometown fade in the rearview mirror. I took a deep breath; it was time to start my freshmen year. I was as shy and nervous as ever but those feelings quickly faded when I was greeted by Evie Inigo and Joey Haynes. They made me feel so welcome and immediately began persuading me to join drum line and rush for a fraternity. The shy Michael from high school was quickly replaced with a new, outgoing Michael. I joined drum line even though I had only ever played piano, and I rushed Pi Kappa Phi even after I swore I wouldn't go Greek.

Every year something new began. As a sophomore I was a proud member of the Campus Union Board (C.U.B.), a student-run organization that hosts events for undergrads. Three years later I became the president.

Through Queens I was able to see New York City, rebuild New Orleans, and experience the beauty of Italy. I never found myself slowing down and was excited for every experience ahead. The day after returning from my study tour in Italy I boarded a plane to Seattle.  I was there to take part in the Journey of Hope, a summer event coordinated by my fraternity's philanthropy, Push America. I was part of the crew for a cross-country cycling trip that raises awareness for people with disabilities. I was one of four brothers from our chapter on the trip, and when it finished in Washington, D.C. we were greeted by a large group of Queens friends and family. 

If there is one thing I discovered about Queens, it's that we are a small school with a big heart. When you walk across campus you'll always find a friend to wave to. Professors not only know the students by name, but they go out of their way to help us when we need it. Even after leaving the classroom there's still something new to learn.

My experiences at this university helped shape the person I have become.  I advise all current students to cherish each moment you have at Queens: become active on campus, go to as many events as possible, and find something you're passionate about. There is so much to discover here.

I owe all I've learned to the people who helped give me this experience. My professors always looked for the best in me, and the staff in Student Life never failed to make me smile. Everywhere I look there's a person or group of people who gave me so much, from our admissions counselors, friends, brothers and even our tweeting Diana statue! I cannot thank them enough for how much they have taught me.

It's almost time to start another journey, and I am not sure where this one will take me. I do know that because of my time here, this new journey will be for the better. As I leave Queens, I don't just see it as a school; I know it as my home.
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