Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Cattolica International

Feelings of Graduation

by Adriana Maria Vargas Bermudez


Pushing and pushing in the morning rush at 8:30 a.m. in Milan. I'm used to this daily tug-of-war that is achieved and earned during the hustle of getting to work. Particularly this morning it was rainy and cold, very cold. With my rusty umbrella, I leave my apartment, while my head is also rushing, deciding, and pondering thousands and thousands of thoughts that come and go as fast as they come. I get on the 8:36 a.m. tram. Squeezed, I wonder if this is what olives in a jug or canned sardines feel like. I laugh at myself because comparing myself to canned food this early is something that certainly only has room in my head. As I watch the raindrops slide down the window of the tram, I think about how in two months I will be packing my suitcases, my dog and everything I have built in Italy for three years to continue my postgraduate studies.  

My time in Italy has been unforgettable. Something my 18-year-old self, had dreamed of and longed for. Something scary, confusing and all the emotions at the same time coming to an end and with that end, countless doubts arise, as many as those that came to head before I became the first member of my family to emigrate to another country. Milan became my classroom. Bureaucratic appointments were part of the curriculum of the school of life, the one that taught me to be the most effective and persevering child-adult in the world (in my opinion, of course).  

Now that I’m graduating with my degree in Economics and Management, I feel like a very big chapter of my book is closing. Università Cattolica taught me so many things and helped me discern among my thousands of passions. It provided me not only with a place to grow and feel purposeful, but it gave me lifelong friends, amazing experiences, and a job that helped me find what I feel is my true professional calling. Thinking of me with a flower crown and a suit, like the one my mother and I saw hundreds of girls wearing while jumping the cloisters of the Gemelli Campus back in September 2021 when she came to drop off her daughter in a completely different environment, makes me feel nostalgic and excited. It makes me feel like those three years went by in the blink of an eye and amid that blink that felt infinite, I became a determined individual, that has flourished and acquired a new perspective. 

I ponder, while someone elbows me in the rib as they get off at a tram stop, how I will miss the little things this city has to offer. I'll miss being crushed in that hustle and bustle of the morning, the walks to the university, the sun that comes through my window on a Sunday afternoon, the store below my house where I bought detergent and pasta, greeting the doorman in the morning, in short, small things that I took for granted for so long, and that now understand were an essential part of my life abroad.  

While getting off at the stop that leads me to the metro, I recite in my head a letter to the city… Thank you, Milan for giving me so much, for welcoming me at 18 and letting me go at 21. For training me, for giving me brioche, gelato, pizzas and aperitivi. For my Business Strategy and Marketing classes, for the girls in the Cattolica International office, for my dog, for my roommate but, above all, thank you, Milan, for making me what I am today and for giving me what I wanted and didn't know I needed. I hope to see you soon, in my fondest memories. I look back and with the comforting sound that the transport makes when it announces that it is going to start, the door closes behind me and the tram continues its usual route as I continue mine, which will soon become a story and recount of those days in which I lived in a city in the north of Italy and in which she lived inside me. In my habits and vicissitudes, in my ups and downs. It was there to make me experience the dolce vita, to see my dreams fulfilled and goals achieved. It will always be my favourite classroom.