I still remember the excitement of my graduation week like it was yesterday. When I think back to my time at John Cabot University, I see a mixture of beautiful images of Rome, wonderful memories spent with friends around campus, interesting and inspiring classes, and so much more. I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to end my three years there than the fantastic graduation celebrations hosted by JCU. Although it was a bittersweet time full of goodbyes, transition, and fear of the unknown, the festive atmosphere and fancy events really gave a great sendoff to the graduates as we entered the “real world.”
My favorite graduation event was the dinner hosted at Villa Miani. It was one of the most elegant events I have ever attended. We started the evening by arriving at the gorgeous villa on the top of Monte Mario Hill. Walking up the steps past the gardens and large fountains was like a scene from Roman Holiday. Friends, family, and fellow graduates dressed in their fanciest attire mingled on the open terrace overlooking the panoramic views of the city. The top of St. Peter’s Basilica peeked out of the cluster of rooftops and incredible monuments, creating the perfect backdrop on the Roman sky at sunset. After taking plenty of photos to commemorate the evening, we were ushered into the grand banquet room where we were seated at our tables to enjoy an Italian-style four-course feast of antipasto, primo, secondo, and dolce.
We attentively listened to speeches given by a respected member of the board of trustees, as well as our dear President and the faculty members of the year. We took pride in our graduating class during this time of unity and victory. We did it, together: we took all of our required courses; we passed the tests and final exams; we turned in the papers, theses, and projects! We had mastered the city, too. Rome was our home… the streets of Trastevere from that point on would always be ours. These incredible accomplishments, along with so many others, created the incomparable mood that evening.
Attending John Cabot University is not a path that many in the world have taken. It is a special journey; one that I feel so lucky to have experienced. That is why it is to be cherished by all of us who have been so fortunate. When I think about that one evening spent at Villa Miani, I now realize how unique it all was. That one night in our floor-length gowns, and suits and ties, represents everything that being a JCU graduate means. The night was about celebrating our education and our accomplishments. It was about reveling in Italian culture. It was about the Eternal City. It was about John Cabot. It was about our future. To me, that one night will always represent the start to the rest of our lives.
Alexa Vujaklija (Shearer)
Class of 2015
Grew up in the United States, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria