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Saturday, May 25, 2024
The Observer

I did it my way

Writing this column will be the hardest part of my time here. Not being sent home in the middle of freshman year. Not triple majoring. Not writing my thesis. Not student teaching. 

Because finishing this column inevitably means the end of a very long journey which started when I tentatively attended my first Saint Mary’s news meeting in January 2020.

Before this seemingly small moment in my life, I didn't feel like I had found a home on campus. I was struggling mentally and felt like I was the only person on campus who hadn't bought into the sisterhood I was promised at all the admissions events I attended. Going to one meeting was my last ditch attempt to feel like I belonged somewhere before I started considering transferring to another school.

But as soon as I met Maria, Maeve, Sara, Mia and all of the other members of the department, I knew I had a place at Saint Mary's. I attended more meetings and wrote, and I found that sisterhood in that basement Observer office in the Saint Mary's student center.

I don't think I would have questioned anyone who let me spend the rest of my time at this paper as a news writer. I will always be thankful that Mia saw something in me that I did not yet see in myself when she asked me to be her associate news editor. Even though I got lost on my way to my first production shift in South Dining Hall, it became my second home. There was a larger menagerie of people who I grew to love in that basement office — people who never failed to make me smile, even in the sixth or seventh hour of a shift. Thank you for making me feel seen and loved during my time at the news desk and the back computer.

As I finished my term as assistant managing editor this semester, I was able student teach a high school newspaper class, in addition to the other English classes on my course load. This felt like a full-circle moment. At my small high school, there was no school newspaper or journalism class. I learned everything I knew while I was in college. 

It was my absolute joy to look out at these high school kids every day and tell them what I know to be true — everyone, including yourself, has a story — as well as the power to share meaningful stories that touch lives beyond what you can possibly understand.  

This does not only apply in journalism.

Even with the narratives that are still perpetuated by a vocal minority on the tri-campus, I learned how to believe in my own abilities as a storyteller as I became one of the few Saint Mary's students on two Observer editorial boards. In the course of my terms, I hope that more people understand the stories of Saint Mary's build up the history of this place. We are not the same without Saint Mary's leaders on the tri-campus and out in the world. I see this every day with my friends and the people who belong on this campus. Don't make the mistake of underestimating us.

Now I very tentatively leave Saint Mary's and my homes throughout this place. I only have one regret: not spending enough time telling people that I loved them. So here it is one last time. Thank you for making me laugh and cry and giving me a place I will miss for the rest of my life.

Love y'all,

Gen.

Genevieve is graduating from Saint Mary’s College with degrees in English literature, creative writing and secondary education. Up next, she will be teaching seventh grade English in the South Bend community. Send any book recommendations and rants about how you love The Observer her way at gcoleman01@saintmarys.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.