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Thursday, June 13, 2024
The Observer


To those who got me here

True to form, I turned in my final college assignment — a 10-page research paper on Bob Marley — Friday night, less than 45 minutes before it was due. That was expected. What I didn’t expect was the wash of emotions that followed.

First came relief. After a week spent hunched over my laptop, it was liberating to know it was over. Forty pages of papers and two finals will do that. The workload was demoralizing, frankly. Sometimes it felt like I was the only senior who was still studying. My friends would text in our group chat, whipping up some fun plan for the day and I was stuck on campus instead. That final submission meant I’d spend all the time I had left with all the people I love, not with Microsoft Word.

Then it was happiness. A big smile stretched across my face right after hitting send. I walked straight to the fridge and opened up a beer to celebrate. I started to think about what that moment meant. Four years of sitting in class, taking notes and turning in papers are pretty much over. It’s something I’ve spent the last semester dreading, but it’s not so bad now that it’s here.

Less than a week from now, I’ll leave South Bend as an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame. I’ll be walking across a stage to get the piece of paper that I’ve worked toward across two decades of schooling. My family will be there cheering me on. The job is finished. There’s plenty to be happy about.

Last came the pride. Not necessarily in myself, but in the work I’ve done. I look back at these last four years and it was really hard at times. There have been long nights of little sleep. Sometimes they were at the library because I procrastinated, others it was at the Observer office, waiting for that last story to come in for tomorrow’s paper. There were the hard classes that pushed me to my limit. There were the lunch rushes at Au Bon Pain where the orders seemed endless and where sometimes the knife cut my hand instead of a bagel. There were the freezing cold soccer broadcasts where I’d slouch behind a camera outside, shivering for three hours. I didn’t always want to do it, but I knew it would all be worth it and I never faltered.

That’s why I felt so damn proud right after I turned in that final paper. It is because of the hard work, the commitment, the dedication. They all paid off. I’ve put everything I’ve got into my time at this school and arriving at the finish line makes it all even sweeter.

As such, I’d like to dedicate my last words in this newspaper I love so much to all the people that have made the last four years the best of my life.

To my parents, who gave me all their love, their support, their wisdom: I would never have made it this far without you and I am eternally grateful. I love you.

To my sister, the one who started talking about journalism and made me think it could be fun to try out: Thank you for being there my whole life, for sharing the good and the bad, for always answering the phone when I need to talk. I can’t wait to see the person you’ll become. I love you and I’m so proud of you.

To the rest of my family, all the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, the cousins: Thank you for all your love and support. It truly means the world that you’re all coming out to celebrate with me. I couldn’t have done it without you. I love you.

To my friends at Notre Dame: We’ll keep in touch, but I’m going to miss you guys so much. I’ll miss the football games and the tailgates, but I’ll also miss the dining hall dinners and the games of pool in our dorms. I’m going to miss having best friends next door that I can always count on. Thank you for sharing this University with me. It wouldn’t be half the blessing it has been without you. I love you all.

Lastly, to my beloved Observer: I had no clue what I was in for when I covered that first fencing meet more than two years ago. Thank you to the sports department that brought me in and made me feel like part of the family. Thank you to all of Ed Board, you guys are the best group I could have ever asked for. Thank you to my fellow back editors, Maggie, Ryan, Gabby and Hannah. It has been a privilege to work and share the office with all of you. I love you all. Thank you to The Observer, you have made me a better person and a better journalist, and you have changed my life.

José is a senior from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico graduating with degrees in French and political science and a minor in journalism. After Notre Dame, he’ll continue his career in journalism as a reporter for The Dallas Morning News. You can contact José at

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