Learning how to live and not just exist

A message on how not to fear what is next

A year ago, I wrote about how the Newswire had become a lifestyle for me and about how as a first-year I never would have thought I’d be where I was then. And it baffles me now to realize that yet another big and unpredictable change lies before me as I have just two weeks left as a student at this university.

So where do I begin summing up these four weird, unpredictable, incredible years of my life that have changed me so much and given me many opportunities? My time at Xavier has allowed me to travel and broaden my horizons, landed me a job, gifted me with invaluable learning experiences and given me friendships that (in a cliché) will last a lifetime.

I’ve come into my own, embraced my eccentricities and learned so much about myself and about what I want out of life. The Newswire has played a huge part in that. From my days writing club profiles as a staff writer to news briefs as campus news editor and now to finishing my career as the Editor-in-Chief, I’ve had the great pleasure of working at an organization that strives to be a place for students to have their voices heard and to learn about the world around them. Through the highs and lows, my time with the Newswire has helped me grow professionally and personally in ways I could have never imagined just three years ago. But perhaps more importantly, I’ve been so fortunate to have worked alongside some amazing people and I’d like to thank everyone on staff for their persistence, dedication and (of course) friendship.

Thank you to Taylor and Camie for keeping me sane on those long Tuesday nights, making liberal use of the dammit doll and reminding me that the world is full of Andrews and not-Andrews. To Meredith and Hollis, my other three-year Newswire veterans, for always challenging me and helping me to grow as a writer, as a student and as a person.

To Lydia and Alex for making sure there was never a dull moment in the office. To Nick for your kindness and diligence. And to Tatum for your humor and grace, even when I once questioned your knowledge of the alphabet. To the rest of next year’s staff, I just have this to say: make the most of your time. Try new things, break the rules and don’t lose sight of your vision for this paper. You’ve already impressed Taylor and I with your passion and skill, and I have every confidence that Tatum and Ceci will leave this place better than they found it. And now, having said my thank yous and blessings, I come to another reflection cliché.

No senior column is complete without at least one “inspirational” quote, so here’s one of mine, from Oscar Wilde: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday: that paper you still haven’t written, the form you need to fill out, the laundry you haven’t done. And there’s a big mental difference between getting by and living meaningfully.

I cannot say that I’ve always “lived” by that definition, but my time at Xavier has reminded me of the need to do so. Maybe it’s the nostalgia talking, but my last few months at this university have been filled with many goodbyes and moments where I just take in everything around me: the sound of the Fight Song from inside the band section at my last basketball game as student, the scratch of my pen as I sign my initials on top of the last Tuesday night final I will ever read.

Andrew Koch is the former Editorin- Chief at the Newswire. He is a senior advertising and English double major from Cincinnati, Ohio.
Andrew Koch is the former Editor-in-Chief at the Newswire. He is a senior advertising and English double major from Cincinnati, Ohio.

And tomorrow, I’ll have the strange experience of, for the last time, reading my name in the Newswire and imagining the variety of ways readers will try to pronounce “Koch.” I like to make plans, and I’ve often caught myself thinking that I need one for my life before I can move forward. But if that were true, I think it is safe to say that I’d be thoroughly stuck.

If I have learned anything here at Xavier, it’s that you don’t have to know where you are going. Sometimes, you just have to trust that you will get where you want to be. The most meaningful things in life follow no schedule, and perhaps the richest part of living is getting to experience the thrill of finding out what’s around the corner–to witness first-hand the “inexhaustible variety of life,” to borrow a phrase from “The Great Gatsby.” So, in the great words of Aaron Sorkin: What’s next?