Praise Nyambiya ’18

Senior Week. It’s that once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable interlude between the end of the senior spring semester’s academic work and Commencement. The responsibilities are few, the nostalgia runs deep, and Longwood’s campus is at its most beautiful and vibrant.

It’s a time for reflection, fun, planned class of 2018 activities like pool parties and bowling night, and a bit of nostalgia. For Praise Nyambiya ’18, the relentlessly enthusiastic senior class president with a wide, quick smile, it began when he finished his last exam of the semester and stepped out of Chichester Hall onto Wheeler Mall, beautiful in springtime and busy with students throwing Frisbees and waiting to meet friends for the D-Hall.

It ends with Commencement (on Saturday, May 19), where Nyambiya will stand on the Wheeler Stage and deliver the Senior Class welcome.

Nyambiya, a native of Zimbabwe whose family settled in Michigan when he was a young child and later moved to Maryland, has had an uncommonly full Longwood experience. Longwood’s representative on the governor’s Millennial Civic Engagement Task Force, a member of SGA Senate and Conduct Board, and resident assistant, he plans to continue his studies after commencement, eventually becoming a physician. But Senior Week, he says, will be one of the most memorable of his collegiate career.


 

Praise Nyambiya ’18

Everyone wants to hit up their favorite spots in town and really just enjoy this last week before we all spread out and go our separate ways.

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How did you feel when your last class of the semester was over and Senior Week had started?

It felt unreal. When you’ve gone to a school for this long and walk out of your last class there, it was a strange, strange feeling. Almost bittersweet. I’ve accomplished a lot—more than most people expected of me, certainly more than I expected of myself. It’s been fun, and I really just can’t believe it’s about to be over.

How do you plan to spend the last week of your time at Longwood?

To be honest, I’ll probably spend it a lot like I have the last four years: spending time with friends, playing video games, grabbing a bite to eat at D-Hall—just trying to spend as much time as possible with each other. Now that exams are over, there’s this sense of exhaling a little bit. Everywhere you go it seems like the senior class is getting more and more excited for graduation. Everyone wants to hit up their favorite spots in town and really just enjoy this last week before we all spread out and go our separate ways.

The feeling of excitement and happiness that alumni bring with them back to campus is the same feeling that we seniors have right now. So it will be great to celebrate with them.

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Do you have any favorite spots you’re planning on spending some time?

Well my favorite restaurant in town is the Fishin’ Pig—it’s been the site of a lot of great times for me over the past couple of years—and they are throwing all of us seniors a party the Thursday before graduation. We’ll all be out on the patio, and I think it will be a great way to say goodbye to a place that always makes me feel good.

This year Senior Week will start off a bit differently than normal, with Mega-Reunion now taking place before graduation, in order for alumni to be on campus at a time when it’s at its most beautiful and already full of life and energy. How are you looking forward to that?

I went to Mega Reunion last year in June, and had such a good time meeting alumni and talking to them about how they remember Longwood from when they were students, and I’m so glad I get to experience it again. Really the feeling of excitement and happiness that alumni bring with them back to campus is the same feeling that we seniors have right now. So it will be great to celebrate with them.

I’m proud that the Class of 2018 is giving the biggest gift in recent years at commencement, and that we broke records for senior class participation in this year’s Day of Giving.

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As the seniors are welcomed to the ranks of alumni at Mega Reunion, have you thought about life as an alum?

More and more as my senior year has gone on. Two things really stand out. First, there have been so many people who have helped me grow into the person I am, from my professors to lots of staff members in financial aid and residence life, that I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing them. And second I really feel a strong sense of responsibility to pay back what so many people have given me. That’s why I’m proud that the Class of 2018 is giving the biggest gift in recent years at commencement, and that we broke records for senior class participation in this year’s Day of Giving. That’s all important, and I plan on continuing to stay involved as an alumnus.

What will you miss most?

My good friends and the other people I’ve gotten to know. After commencement we all sort of spread out and I’ll miss that feeling I have knowing I’m going to run into someone walking to class.

Praise Nyambiya ’18 is the senior class president and will speak at commencement on Saturday, May 19.

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