Senior Sendoff: Writing through life

From 8-year-old princess to college senior. Photo courtesy of Kathy Oakley


When I arrived at Butler, I was a confused, shy mess of emotions who thought I knew much more than I did. Even amid the bizarre year of 2020, I was ready to show people just how smart and ready I was for the world. However — to my arrogant 18-year-old surprise — I have been incredibly humbled by my time at Butler. 

I will be the first to admit that I was a menace at 18 years old. It was easier to feel special while growing up in a small town, and I certainly did. I approached going to college with the naivety of a small-town girl moving to New York City in a coming-of-age movie — and I was pushed down just as quickly too. 

Immediately I struggled to meet people and find my place here. I went through the first semester making very few friends and just going through the academic motions. That all changed when my English department mentor Emma Beavins suggested I apply for The Butler Collegian. I was marginally interested in journalism, but truthfully, I just needed something to do. 

So, I joined the Culture section. My first semester with the Collegian was hard, but I felt accepted. I could hone my creativity, and find a place for all of the thoughts and interests swirling around in my head. I knew I enjoyed it, but I had no idea how important it would become. 

Sophomore year rolled around, and things started to fall apart. 

During that year I added a major, dropped that major, added a minor and added another minor. I lived in my sorority house and dealt with more people on a daily basis than ever before. I started having panic attacks for the first time. I became so unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I lost friends as fast as I gained them. It felt like I had been pushed against the pavement and could not get back up. 

However, every Monday the Collegian was still there waiting for me. 

No matter how tumultuous my life was getting, I could find solace in my writing and the community of the Culture section. On a good week, there were only six writers; on a bad week there might be two. So, I was constantly pushed to come up with ideas and grow as a writer. I found myself asking questions I never would have thought of before and taking even more risks with my writing. That year was one of the worst of my life, but I found myself through the chaos. That would not have been possible without the Collegian. 

Writing for the Collegian taught me how to think more critically and accept that I am not always right. I had to relinquish some control and learn how to trust others. Slowly but surely, I let my guard down. I may not have known what I wanted from life, but I knew I loved writing. For the moment, that was enough. 

My first semester of junior year was spent abroad in Paris. As one might expect, this was an incredible experience, but it left me afraid of returning to Butler. I had just dropped out of my sorority, and I was going to be welcomed back by many uncertainties. Coming back to the Culture section of the Collegian was one of the only things that brought me joy. However, I made myself do it because I knew my journey at Butler was not done. 

And once again, the Collegian was there waiting for me. 

Junior year was shorter, but I grew so much in my writing and my confidence. I dove into topics I was passionate about and created deeper relationships with my fellow writers. By the time the end of the year was coming, I knew I wanted to be an editor. 

This year as an editor has possibly been the best yet. It has been the culmination of everything I’ve learned in my time at Butler and with the Collegian. I can tell I am a better, smarter and more mature person after this experience. When I came here, I may have thought I knew everything, but now I know I don’t. I know I have so much to learn, but I know I’m capable of making it through. Frankly, if I made it through these four years, then there isn’t much I can’t do. 

So many people have helped me along the way, and this sendoff would not be complete without thanking them. 

To my Dad: thank you for being my toughest critic and loudest cheerleader all in one. 

To my Mom: thank you for talking me through all the ups and downs and being patient as I figured it all out. 

To Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Crossan, Mrs. Dohm and Ms. Norbut: thank you for teaching me to love writing and encouraging me to pursue my passions. 

To Dr. Brynnar Swenson and Dr. Angela Hofstetter: thank you for continuing to foster that love and pushing me further than I knew I could go. 

To Megan: thank you for being the best co-editor I could have asked for. I could not have done it without you this year, and I am so grateful that I got this chance to get to know you. 

To Emma Beavins: thank you for suggesting that I join the Collegian. You have no idea how much that changed my life. 

To Emily and Emma: thank you for welcoming me in and creating the accepting environment that I needed. 

To Mae-Mae: thank you for helping me improve my writing and making me laugh. You’re the only person who’s still here from when I started, and I’ve enjoyed seeing us both grow. 

To Owen and Leah: thank you for letting me pursue whatever random ideas I had and bringing the Culture section closer together. 

To the whole pub night crew: thank you for memories I will never forget. I’ve loved working with and being friends with each and every one of you. 

To the Culture section: thank you for being amazing. You guys have made it so easy to do this job. I’ve looked forward to seeing you every week, and I can only hope that this time has been as special for you as it has been for me. 

To all of my friends, colleagues and professors: thank you for your kindness and the memories we’ve shared at Butler. My time has not been what I expected, but I owe all of my fond memories to the people who made them special. 

I have gone through so many changes while at Butler, but the one thing I have always been able to say is “I write for the Culture section of The Butler Collegian.” Soon, that will no longer be true. As silly a gesture as it is, I tear up thinking about changing my resume from “The Butler Collegian: Winter 2021-Present” to “Winter 2021-Spring 2024.” When something is so much a part of your identity, it’s hard to see that go. 

However, the things I have learned while at the Collegian will stay with me forever. Even when I no longer attend Monday and Tuesday night meetings and agonize over Oxford commas, the memories will remain. The Butler Collegian has turned me into a thinker, a writer, a mentor and a friend; I will be forever grateful.  


Related posts