Senior Sendoff: “The culture is lit, and I had a ball”

God-damn man child. Photo courtesy of Chuck Grant. Graphic by Lauren Gdowski. 


As a culture co-editor, I am incredibly attuned to what is happening in the world of media and society. I like to measure my life in media releases and develop special connections to films and music as signifiers for different periods of my life. In 2019, as I sat in Ross Hall during my first week at Butler, I could not fathom or understand the mourning of a time long gone expressed by Lana del Rey on “The greatest” from her sixth album “Norman F*cking Rockwell!” 

The album was released during my first week at Butler and has since become my favorite album of all time, depending on the day of the week. However, as I begin to spend my last few weeks on the campus that I called home for the past four years, I am beginning to understand that this indeed could be “the greatest loss of them all.” 

The album held my hand through a very exciting and tumultuous freshman year. Again, I lived in Ross, and there is not much more tumultuous than that dorm during late summer! I bought the CD on a Target run with several roommates during my third week, and the poster sat above my creaky twin XL. It accompanied me throughout the winter of that year and through to the spring, which would, unfortunately, be cut short. 

When COVID-19 first hit, it felt like all the good I had built in my life came to a screeching halt. My friends, the freedom, the music we shared, the laughs and photos — all frozen in time for six months. However, it was during this spring semester my freshman year that I discovered my love for writing and my future in journalism. 

My sophomore year gave me a sense of relaxation. I was in a time when I had little to no obligations and lived aimlessly. At the time, I thought that was what I wanted or needed. Of course, COVID restrictions helped a lot, but it felt like the possibilities were never-ending. I realized the aimlessness I sought was not being fulfilled; I need aimlessness where I feel happy guided by myself rather than those who surround me. 

I just remember feeling like I was in a renaissance that would never end — like the rest of my life would be this easy. Coming into the spring semester and having officially declared a journalism major, I still was tentative to join The Collegian. I heard murmurs about the difficulty and extra workload. I valued my free time, often used for fall walks along the canal to “Venice B*tch” or “Happiness is a butterfly.” 

For some reason, signing up for any extracurricular or extra workload seemed to endanger my serenity. After some pushing from several people, I reluctantly signed on to become a staff writer toward the end of my spring semester sophomore year, only to show up to just one meeting.

It was not until my junior year I began getting very invested in this paper. Ironically, “the culture” Lana described in “The greatest” would become my home at the paper. The editors described the culture section as being the perfect place for me to write about film and music, two of the most important things in my life. 

My time as a regular writer for the Collegian came at the perfect moment when I needed distractions from the very personal tribulations I was experiencing. I threw myself into schoolwork, my job at the campus Starbucks and most importantly, my writing. 

I always knew writing was something I needed in my life. An avid reader as a child, a video essay consumer as a teenager and a lifelong writer for my emotional and creative outlet, writing became a safe haven for me. It was always one of my greatest strengths, and I always enjoyed it. During my junior year, the Collegian gave me a space to feel safe, to distract myself from hardships and perfect my passion. 

I looked back at the end of my junior year in awe of the progress I had made, both emotionally and academically. I began to realize that the end was slowly creeping in, and I knew I wanted to do more my senior year. Knowing a grueling and still unfinished job search was also coming up, I decided to apply to be a culture co-editor, both to make my resume look well-rounded and to give back to the paper I had leaned on so heavily. 

My senior year came and now ends quicker than I expected. My days and nights have been filled with some of the most beautiful friends, memories and celebrations I have ever had the joy to experience. However, my Tuesday nights in particular will always stand out. On the first publication night of the year, I came in nervous and feeling inadequate compared to my peers, who I knew as some of the smartest people on this campus. Luckily, I found I was more than competent. More importantly, I found an editorial board full of my best friends who are some of the funniest, warmest people I have ever gotten to know. Every night I left, I smiled the whole way back home. 

Living in a senior house with my friends, going out to Broad Ripple, going downtown for my internship, a “Girls” rewatch and three Lana Del Rey albums later, I am at the end of my undergrad collegiate journey. 16 years of schooling all led here. I am not the person I was when I first heard “The greatest,” but I finally now relate to “The culture is lit and I had a ball … If this is it, I’m signing off.”

In an effort to commemorate my time at Butler, I would be remiss to mention that it was the people who made my time at this university some of the best years of my life. 

To Nick and Eduardo: thank you for being my two closest and some of my first real best friends. Not a day went by during my senior year when I didn’t miss our time in CTS. 

To Jenn, Gentry, Melanie and Sara: beyond roommate love, you have truly been some of the best memories and relationships I have made here. 806 forever. 

To Emma, my platonic soulmate: it scares me to think about how we’re mirrors of each other. My senior year would never have been the same. 

To Emma and Mae-Mae: thank you for shaping me into the writer I am today. Your guidance, care and attention never went unnoticed. 

To Leah: my culture partner in crime. We absolutely slayed this year. You constantly amaze me, and I am blessed to have worked with you. 

To Aidan, Annie and Isabella: New York is a time I will never forget. Times Square will always be synonymous with our time there. So much love for you all. 

To Reece, Kobe, Alison, Haley, Matthew, Sarah, Gabi, Lauren, Abby, Maggie, Isabel and Elizabeth: thank you for Tuesday nights and for putting up with my boisterous antics. The entire 2022-2023 editorial board gave me some of my favorite nights ever. I have so much love for every single one of you. 

To my entire group of coworkers and supervisors at Starbucks: thank you for rarely getting annoyed at my incessant visits. I would never want to make BOSEs or SARLs with anybody else on campus. 

To all of the people I have made connections and friendships with throughout my years: thank you for being there and thank you for the unforgettable kindness. 

A Lana Del Rey album came out every school year during my time at Butler. “Norman F*cking Rockwell!” captured the exuberance and excitement of being a freshman. “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” saw me settle into normality as I established myself and my day-to-day sophomore year. During an intense junior year full of self-reflection and self-assessment, “Blue Banisters” demonstrated my ability to look inward with the softness I needed at the time. 

Weeks before my graduation, “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?” came out. Unsurprisingly, I love it. Capturing the ideas of self-legacy and memories, its opening track best sums up how I want to leave the readers, my friends and everyone who I have developed relationships with during my four years at Butler University. 

“My pastor told me when you leave, all you take / Oh-oh, is your memory / And I’m gonna take minе of you with me / I’m gonna take mine of you with mе.”


Related posts