NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Tonight is the season finale of Blue Bloods.

After eight seasons, the cast has experienced a lot together.

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CBS2’s Alex Denis sat down with actress Sami Gayle, who dishes on what it’s like around the dinner table.

Dinner with the Reagans is a trademark scene on Blue Bloods.

Throughout the years, fans have watched Gayle, who plays Nicky, grow up.

“My whole life has been cataloged. Like, half of it. There’s been a lot of changes. My hair has changed, my voice has changed,” Gayle said. “It’s been a whirlwind to watch it unfold.”

And a whirlwind in real life too, as she balances her work schedule with rigorous college studies.

“I’m just about to graduate from Columbia. I double majored in political science and art history,” Gayle said.

Her accomplishments haven’t changed her. She’s still down to earth, humble and appreciative, Denis reported, especially when talking about her coworkers, starting with Tom Selleck.

“He is like a grandfather to me,” she said.

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As for her mom on the show, Bridget Moynahan?

“I always go to her for advice,” Gayle said.

And the joker on set? Donnie Wahlberg.

“He’s always dancing. That is a guy who walks into any room and lights it up,” she said.

She learned some tricks of her own during her time on Blue Bloods.

“We do eat all of the food. And we start by just eating the veggies. Because if you start eating a lot in the first take… you’re eating that for the rest of the shoot, maybe six more hours,” she said.

Her most rewarding moments come when she receives feedback from the true law enforcement heroes the show depicts.

“For those people to come up to us and say ‘Thank you for how you represent our families and our personal lives and professional lives on screen’ is probably the most gratifying aspect of our job,” Gayle said.

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And we will see more of that respect in season nine.