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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

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I know the end

Before I began writing this column, I looked back at one of the senior columns written for last year’s commencement edition of the paper. I remember reading the column when it was published and thinking, “Man, I don’t think my senior column is going to be as good as this one.” And now here I am, one year later, still thinking the exact same thing. 

Because how can I put all of this into words? Maybe that’s a silly thing for me to say given that I’ve spent the better part of my college career heavily involved in a writing-based extracurricular, but I just can’t seem to find what I want to say. I also knew that this column — my last column — was going to be so important to me. I want to do this well for me and for The Observer. Part of me was (and I guess still is) afraid that no matter what I say, I’ll realize that I forgot to write something or that I’ll wish I said something else. 

I know part of the issue is that I’m not good at letting go. And I really, really don’t want to let all this go. It’s probably why I didn’t start writing this column until the day it was due (my request for an extension on the deadline was politely declined). It’s also probably why I haven’t even thought about packing all my stuff up even though I have to leave South Bend the morning after graduation. 

But deep down, I know my time has come. I love Notre Dame. I freaking love this place and everything it has given me. But if I were to spend another year on campus, doing the same things I’ve been doing for the past four years, I would probably feel like I had overstayed my welcome. But boy, am I going to miss it. 

The other day, I realized that after May 19, I’m not going to be living with my best friends anymore. It’s not like we can just chat over text, FaceTime once a week over the summer knowing that we’ll be together again come August. This is it. 

And, of course, maybe we’ll find our way back into another house or apartment together. But our current plans are dictating otherwise. Seeing my best friends isn’t going to be walking down the hallway and knocking on their doors, or waiting in the living room for them to come home so we can chat about our days. It’s going to be flying to different cities and scheduling weekend trips weeks in advance. Adult friendships are hard. They take much more time and effort to maintain. Soon, I won’t be able to walk four doors down to my neighbors house so we can sit on her porch while we talk, eat dinner and wave to our neighbors as they walk down the street. I know I take these little luxuries for granted, and now they’re going to be gone in less than one week.  

When I sat down to write this column, I had no idea what I was going to say (and to be honest, I still don’t have one this far in). But, the first words I typed on the page were the title of this column: I Know the End. My inspiration comes from Phoebe Bridgers (shocker!) and the fact that every time I thought about writing this, I had the lyric, “The end is near” repeating in my head. I honestly thought about using that line as my column’s title, but it felt too apocalyptic. So, I settled for the title of the song rather than that one specific lyric. 

“I Know the End” is the last song on Bridger’s second album, “Punisher,” and I absolutely love it. The first three minutes of the song are Bridgers singing softly over somber instrumentals. About half way through the song, the violin picks up, leading into a massive crescendo that heavily relies on both drums and trumpet. During the final swell of the instruments, Bridgers just starts screaming. It’s awesome. 

I absolutely love albums that close with songs that have massive build-ups. “Punisher” is a great example, and “Fine Line” by Harry Styles does a good job of it, too. I’m realizing now that maybe I just brought all this up to say that it’s funny that someone who hates letting go as much as I do can find so much beauty in endings. 

And I do think that my ending at Notre Dame will be beautiful, too. I’m closing out this chapter of my life as a very different person than I was four years ago when I arrived — which, I think, is a good thing. 

On the day this edition of the paper is printed, I turn 22. Of course, I’ve been telling everyone that it’s actually just my opportunity to make grad week about me and me alone. But, I do think there is something special about having the chance to have a new beginning in a new year of my life.

But, of course, I’m writing this exactly one week before graduation, and I’m turning it in right before I set to drive my friends to Chicago to start celebrating senior week. So I guess I still have some time. 

Gabrielle is a senior from Rye, NY graduating with a degree in neuroscience and behavior and a minor in journalism. After graduating, Gabrielle will spend her summer reporting for the Dallas Morning News. She can be contacted at gbeechert@alumni.nd.edu. Long live The Observer.

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