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What I can say: A senior exit column


When I was given the idea to write my final published article for the Charger Bulletin, I was genuinely at a loss. 

What am I supposed to say? Something cliché, such as how much I’m going to miss everyone and everything and how I’ll never forget anyone? Something optimistic? Something heartfelt and sad? Tear-jerking, even?

I’ve not a clue what to say. Not one.

Of course, there are a lot of things I can talk about, including the friends I’ve made, the work I’ve done, how much the university has contributed to my life and selected profession. 

But I choose to look back on my life on campus—or my life associated with campus.

I was never on-campus much. Living two hours away from campus via the Metro-North can actively discourage my desire to travel to and from campus, frankly. It’s not something I recommend doing if you can help it. Regardless, though, I rode the rails and trudged to campus and struggled to catch a shuttle on most days, but I would make it. I would make it to campus and I’d walk over the seal like the dumbass that I am—the fact that there was a superstition surrounding it was unbeknownst to me until just two weeks ago—and walk from class to class, not being able to leave campus until the end of the day. 

On most days during my freshman year, because I was a commuter student, I would spend my days alone, on the phone with my mother as I walked from class to class, or whenever I had a break for food or drink. And I preferred it that way. Of course, I knew people. My classmates were nice enough, there were some close friends of mine from high school that were also enrolled at New Haven, so it wasn’t bad, but I found my own company—sometimes along with “Grey’s Anatomy” or “New Girl”—better at times, then. There was also something about being alone on campus that made university life movie-like for me. 

By my second semester at New Haven, I felt just the same as the first: better suited by my own company. But this time, I decided that I could be alone surrounded by other people, and that sounded like a great idea to me, so I decided to get more involved around campus. I joined the Latin American Student Association and I was approached to join the university’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter, giving me the opportunity to meet others, people that I have come to love and appreciate.

This was also when I looked into the Charger Bulletin.

I knew next to nothing about how to write journalistically and was not even aware of there being a stylebook we had to follow as journalists because I had applied to New Haven trying to convince myself that I wanted to be a Broadcast Journalist™. 

I was delusional in 2019. Still am. But we’re thriving.

Still, I told myself: “Hey, what the hell! I can learn a thing or two about print journalism! It helps to know more than the comp!” And I joined as a contributing writer because I was a great writer. In fact, I spent most of my time as I grew up writing. It wouldn’t be bad. It couldn’t be. Because I was good.

My ego was shattered as soon as I submitted my first article. Absolutely disintegrated.

The insurmountable amount of edits that I got on my poor, little Jussie Smollett article was enough to want to make me crawl into a hole and-

Let me not.

Anyway, it’s needless to say that I received a lot of edits on this article, and my heart was broken. I thought that I was a good writer and that I would be one of the absolute best writers in the history of the Charger Bulletin. But looking back on this article, even after the edits, I could see how much I had to do to improve upon my writing. It was disastrous. And I thank the editorial staff so much for helping me get my ego in check back then. I really needed it because it led me to push myself to be better.

Eventually, I became a staff writer, having written the bulk of my stories between 2019 and 2020. With each story, I learned about what was acceptable and what was not in journalism, about what I should and should not do with my articles, and I started getting the hang of things, even trying my hand at heavy editing. And when the time came around to apply for editorial positions, I went for the student life position. 

I received multiple emails from some people, including the Bulletin’s adviser Susan Campbell, about applying for the managing editor position, which baffled me because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle it. Still, I applied and I interviewed and I got it, much to my surprise. 

These experiences are what shaped my time at the University of New Haven. 

And it is also somewhat important to note that I created a whole magazine from the ground up for my honors thesis. One that I am so proud of because it was able to elevate student voices in a way that I had not seen done prior. 

Not to brag or anything, right?

Maybe a little.

But all in all, I have been able to do things that I never thought I’d do throughout college. I have been able to make connections with people, have important conversations, learn important lessons, and become prepared to confront the realities of the real world, regardless of how afraid I am to do so; to grow up and not have a crutch to hold onto. Do I feel ready, though? No. No, I do not. I’m actually really scared, but I know that I’m ready and I know that I will very likely do great things in the coming years.

So, what can I say? I can say that I take solace in the idea that during the last four years. I can say that I have grown, learned, loved and been loved a great deal. And I can say with my whole chest that those experiences are valid.

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