By: Jonathan S. Hogue ~Outgoing Opinions & Editorials Editor~
A senior editorial is a tough cookie to crack. While I love hearing myself talk, I know not everyone wants to hear one more senior discuss his or her Xavier experience because most (I hope) thank friends, encourage underclassmen to bend the rules once in a while and include some cliché anecdotes to fill the space. Sadly, while this format is repetitive, it’s an accurate reflection of what Xavier means to me.
College has been a long process for me. While I’ll cross the stage victorious on May 14, the diploma did not come without its share of difficulties. I spent most of my college experience in a mental haze. Years of ignoring mental health took a toll on my life, and college was the breaking point. There were numerous times when I completely broke down and couldn’t function day-to-day. I experienced panic attacks during class, had to use anxiety medication before Don’t Tell Anna performances and spent hours alone in my dorm room trying to gather my emotions so I could just walk down the greenspace and get to my next class. Thankfully, throughout all of these bad moments, senior year has shown me one thing: I was never alone.
There are people on this campus whom I know and love because they loved me at my worst and best. From professors to students to Xavier guests, I can truly say that I love the Xavier community. There are several moments that really stick out.
During a philosophy exam in Dr. Frankel’s course, I felt the room spin and began to have an anxiety attack during the test. Why did this happen? I couldn’t tell you. The only thing I know is that my body said run. While I sat outside trying to manage my thoughts, Dr. Frankel spoke with me and gave me an extension on the test. While I was horrified that someone saw this breakdown, his follow-up email and messages of encouragement allowed me to get the help I needed.
Last semester, my father was diagnosed with stage four cancer. The doctor originally gave him a year to live, and he encouraged us to prepare arrangements “sooner rather than later.” This diagnosis sent me into a tailspin because it came while I was juggling three jobs, thesis prep work and numerous on-campus commitments.
When I think about this and other tiring days, I’m blessed to say that God didn’t allow me to keep the painful memories, but He allowed me to remember the warmth of those who exhibited His love whenever I needed it.
I saw God through Tommy Bell taking up a surprise collection to help my parents with bills, Meredith Francis reading papers for me when I felt insecure about my writing, Meredith Beamer and Laura Kalynchuk for sending me thoughtful texts on rough days and numerous professors giving me hugs when I came to their office clearly stressed by the day’s events. I know I wouldn’t be able to cross the stage and accept my degree if it wasn’t for the countless great people who made my Xavier experience a transformative one.
Today, I’m in one of the best places in my life because of the people God works through to help me be my most authentic self.
To Xavier underclassmen, know that the college experience is unique to every person. Will Xavier be perfect? Hell no. I understand that there will be people and instances that work your last nerve. Nothing in life will give you everything you want; however, it is up to you to focus on the lessons in your struggles so you may use the experience to bring forth something new.
All of you deserve the very best life has to offer. As you continue your careers at Xavier and beyond, I hope God blesses you all. If you do one thing while at Xavier, take time to recognize and thank the people along your journey who help you be yourself. They’re the true gifts you’ll cherish, my friends.
Be blessed and best of luck to you all.