Senior Sendoff: Making my mark

A collage of college. Graphic by Megan Fuller


Writing for The Butler Collegian was never a part of my collegiate plan. I’d never written for a newspaper prior to college, and I didn’t think that would be something that would particularly interest me once in college. I spent my first two years of college without the Collegian and decided to join on a whim — thankfully it worked out. 

My first two years here at Butler were interesting. Graduating high school and entering college at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic completely altered those two huge milestones in my life. My graduation was virtual and so were a lot of my classes in my first year here. Feeling so separated from everyone through masks and screens made making friends very difficult, but I managed to get involved on campus and meet people. 

In school, I always did better in English and history. I have loved writing poems, songs and stories since I was little. I knew writing would be a part of my future in some capacity. I originally was solely majoring in strategic communication because my older sister majored in that too and I didn’t really know that exploratory majors existed. I loved a lot of my classes in my major — shoutout to my mentor Professor Stevenson-Holmes — but I always felt like something was missing. I needed to personalize my major more, and by the end of my sophomore year, I had added a second major in English on the creative writing track. I was excited to start my journey as a writer, and little did I know that soon I would join the Collegian. 

That summer after sophomore year was one of the best summers of my life. I spent it studying abroad with other communications majors in London. I absolutely fell in love with the city and made amazing new friends with my roommates in the program, Brook, Genevieve and — future editor-in-chief of the Collegian — Alison Miccolis. The four of us spent that summer exploring London and other cities in the UK and learning about British journalism and media. 

A couple of weeks into the fall semester of my junior year, I remember sitting in Starbucks with Genevieve trying to find ways to get more involved on campus. I had been a founding member of Butler’s student-run communication agency, five fountains, but my other involvements — Butler University Dance Marathon, Greek life and orientation leadership — had all ended. Alison came up to us and started talking about the Collegian, and I was immediately interested. I cannot believe I did not think about it sooner. It combined my love of writing with communication skills like AP Style and interviewing. That conversation with Alison prompted me to apply for the paper, and I was accepted as a reporter for the Culture section, my home. 

I remember my first meeting at the Collegian. I was so nervous, and almost couldn’t find where the meeting was because I didn’t know that the acronym LFH stood for Levinson Family Hall, the brand-new science building on campus. I headed to the Collegian office, Fairbanks 210, and was shocked to find nobody there. Once I was in the right place, I met my new editors, Leah Ollie and Owen Madrigal. I thought they were so cool and signed up to write an article that week. My first article, “Hikes, bikes and automobiles: How do you get around Indy without a car?” was an informational piece that was helpful to me as a student without a car on campus. I remember being so proud of myself for that headline. 

I signed up to write articles as much as I could handle, from “Dawgs with Style” fashion columns to horror movie reviews. Writing for the Collegian is a learning curve, as there are many stylistic rules to follow. Luckily, my experience with AP Style and grammar as a strategic communication major came in handy. I learned so much from my co-editors and made friends with other writers in the section, like Jack Williams, Gianna Cassin, current Multimedia Editor Eva Hallman and my amazing future co-editor Abigail Oakley

Working for the culture section brings a variety of articles to write. You may think that the Culture section just writes puff pieces about this year’s best makeup tips, but you would be wrong. I have written articles for the Culture section about topics that really do matter, like highlighting local nonprofits and restaurants and the underfunded art department at Butler. Through all of these articles, I gained more confidence in myself as a writer and interviewer. 

When the end of my first year at the paper came around, I found out that the editorial staff was looking for new culture section editors. I felt a bit inexperienced with only one year on the paper under my belt, but I decided to apply anyway. I usually edit my friends’ papers for school, so how hard could it be? I was so excited to find out that Alison was the next editor-in-chief because she was literally perfect for the role. 

Abigail and I were selected to be co-editors of the Culture section, which turned out to be a perfect pairing. I think we balance each other out really well and make a great team as editors. Transitioning from reporter to editor also has its own learning curve. You have to lead section meetings on Monday nights, motivate your reporters to sign up for stories, edit stories each weekend and get through publication night every Tuesday. It is quite the undertaking, but Abigail and I have gotten through it together. We have helped our section grow, adding new reporters and a few new columns — Film Fanatics and Dawg-Eared.

I cannot believe how close I am to the end of my college career and my time at the Collegian. The past four years have flown by, and my past two years at the Collegian have gone even faster. I have grown so much as a writer and a person and will forever be thankful to this paper for what it has given me. 

Thank you to all of the amazing friends I have made here at Butler. The grace and support you have shown me through the late Tuesday nights and weekends full of editing will forever be appreciated. 

Thank you to my fellow editors: Abby Hoehn, Aidan Gregg, Allie McKibben, Bee Pilarz, Caleb Denorme, Eva Hallman, Gabi Morando, Grace Hensley, Isabella Ernsberger, Jada Gangazha, Leah Ollie, Maddie Wood, Mae-Mae Han, Reece Butler, Ryann Bahnline and Sarah Hohman. You are all inspirations to me through your writing skills and perseverance as reporters. Spending Monday and Tuesday nights with you guys is always a blast, from late-night Starbucks runs to filming Collegian TikToks together. 

Thank you to the amazing design team that works tirelessly to create the paper design and layout each week. 

Thank you to my section reporters. You produce amazing articles every week and are the reason that Abigail and I usually leave long before the other sections on Tuesday nights. 

Thank you to my section co-editor Abigail Oakley. I am so glad that the paper brought us together as both editors and friends. We make a great team and have done great work together. We have much to be proud of. 

Thank you to my amazing editor-in-chief, Alison Miccolis. You have been such a great leader of this paper and a mentor to me as a writer, and I love getting to hang out with you on publication nights. 

Lastly, a huge thank you to our faculty advisor Dr. Karaliova. Each week you help us grow as a paper through both your praise and critiques, and the love and care you show the paper is always appreciated. 

My time at the Collegian may be coming to an end, but I will be forever grateful for this experience. I have accomplished what I set out to do at Butler, to get involved, to leave my mark on this campus and to make amazing friends along the way. As I look toward a future full of unknowns, I feel prepared for whatever comes next.


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