Meditations on the Xavier experience

By: Ayana Rowe ~Outgoing Head Copy Editor~

By now we all know the things people say about college: This is your chance to figure out who you want to be for the rest of your life. All you have to do is pick the perfect major, apply yourself in class, meet amazing people and walk across the stage at graduation having completed the best years of your life.

I’m not telling you these things won’t happen, but if my four years are any indicator, college is not nearly as neat and tidy as people will have you believe. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade this whirlwind for anything.

On picking the perfect major: I’m one of those anomalous creatures that stuck with the same majors all four years. But I didn’t choose both of them. I knew I wanted to be an English major. Doubling in Honors Bachelor of Arts (HAB) was a surprise, kind of like being robbed at gunpoint and deciding that your assailant is best friend material, never mind that he still steals your stuff and threatens to kill you four years into your friendship.

But, if given the chance, I would never undo HAB. I have learned to fit seven HABs in the small Schott elevator. I have also learned about a comaraderie unable to be rivaled.

On applying yourself in class and meeting amazing people: school is important, but don’t let that “A” keep you from living. I spent my first year at Xavier relentlessly pursuing academic success with great results. Somehow, I even managed to meet Elizabeth Rancourt, Tatum Hunter and Nick Bergeman, all of whom have walked, ran and limped alongside me these four years.

However, beyond those three, I had managed to close myself off from the rest of the people on this campus. At the end of my sophomore year my campus minister told me that I’m not going to remember the grades I received but rather the people whose lives I impacted and who made an impact on mine. I think I alarmed him with how much I ran with that concept.

Today, I have to check my transcript in order to remember the grade I received in Latin Prose Composition. But I’ll always remember the day that I flew a kite outside of Buenger with Tatum, Catherine and Caitlin, which ultimately led me to choose to live with these girls (as well as Elizabeth, Maggie, Abbie and Cassie) in Fenwick 408.

I’ll remember saying goodnight to Elizabeth at 11 p.m., then talking about race, religion, politics and every other taboo topic until 3 a.m., on numerous occasions. Or the night I sprawled out on her floor convinced my life was falling apart only to have her tell me how impressed she is by the person I’ve become – so much more confident in myself than the girl she first met.

Ayana Rowe is the outgoing head copy editor at the Newswire. She is a senior HAB and English double major from Cincinnati.

I’ll remember planning a double surprise party with Laura during finals week to celebrate Elizabeth’s birthday and Leah’s departure to France. I’ll remember watching the basketball game on the big screen in Gallagher last year with Rhandi, Savannah, Donald, Ashante and Abrena, four freshmen who became my family (Abrena is already my sister). I’ll remember sitting in the Newswire copy editing room during one of my first weeks as head copy editor exactly one year ago tomorrow, word vomiting my life to Max Bruns, who took it all in stride and has since become one of my best friends.

I’ll remember looking out over downtown Cincinnati on November 22, 2015, praying with Rhandi the night after we found out our friend killed himself. I’ll remember every person who helped me get through thesis year, especially the professors who cared more about me as a human being than a student – Dr. Renzi, Dr. Hogue, Dr. Quinn, Dr. O’Leary and Dr. Strunk, you are all saints.

On these and so many other occasions, I know I had homework up to my eyeballs, but even now, I couldn’t tell you what exactly I was putting off. Homework didn’t make Xavier home; these and so many other wonderful humans have.

On graduating: don’t get so caught up trying to do all the things you’re supposed to do in college that you prevent them from happening. When I walk across the stage in 17 days, I still won’t know where I’m working or living in three months. But I’ll have a plethora of people who will help me figure it out and a lifetime of memories I can’t replace. You only get four years here, use them wisely.