SENIOR OP-ED: Goodbye Xavier: more than a school

I’ve thought about what I’d write for my last contribution to the Newswire since I became the Opinions and Editorial page editor at the end of my sophomore year. As the outgoing Op-Ed editor, I had the privilege of helping three years of seniors voice their parting thoughts to the Xavier community. But now that it’s my turn, I truly have no idea what to say.

I toyed with the idea of giving deep, philosophically sage advice to the underclassmen about how quickly it all goes by and to treasure all the moments ahead of them. I thought about reflecting on my past week and all of the amazing events I took part in for the last time as a student on Xavier’s campus. I even debated writing a comical piece that has absolutely nothing to do with parting words or saying goodbye to a place I’ve come to think of as my home simply because goodbyes are too hard for me.

Back when I was a freshman (and back when we were called freshmen), I was convinced Xavier was not the place for me. I even went as far as starting applications to other schools to attend during spring semester.

Ultimately, I never followed through with any of those plans, honestly because I was too lazy to finish any of the applications. Some days I thank myself for my laziness, and other days I wonder what could’ve happened if I had more motivation to explore other universities.

Fast forward to the summer between sophomore and junior year: I switched from trying to figure out a way to leave Xavier to doing everything I possibly could to stay. The 180 degree turn in my attitude toward Xavier occurred because I had something worth fighting for. I became involved within the community. I found a major and minor with professors and classes I thoroughly enjoyed and I formed countless deep and meaningful friendships.

The person I was the first two years at Xavier compared to the person I became for the last two years is a testament to my go-to advice for anyone planning to attend or thinking of leaving Xavier. You absolutely have to get involved.

Xavier is a place that thrives on community building. If you choose to not be involved in any clubs or communities and you simply go to class and go home, you won’t love the school. It will be your personal hellhole if you stand by and watch while everyone beams with pride over a place you feel like you don’t belong in.

As much as I would love to say I love Xavier for its academia, I’d be lying. It’s a nice bonus, but the true reason I love this place so much is because of the people. The people who make up my Xavier family are the reason I fought to stay. They’re the reason I smile whenever someone asks me what university I’m graduating from. They’re the reason I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye to this campus in a little more than two weeks.

Because it’s not Xavier that I’ll miss, it’s everyone I’ve met along the way and who has impacted my journey that I’ll miss. It’s the luxury of being walking distance away from all my close friends that I will miss.

I fought as hard against loving Cincinnati as I fought against loving Xavier. Who would’ve thought I would be so upset saying a final goodbye to a campus and community I didn’t even want to be a part of in the first place?More importantly, who would’ve thought I would still be in Ohio after proclaiming I would be gone after high school graduation?

It’s crazy how the more you fight against something, the more it becomes deeply rooted in your life.

The greatest thing Xavier has given me during the past four years is the knowledge that no matter how hard I plan or how intensely I try to control the events of my life to follow my perfect storyline, something will always ruin that for me, along with the patience and ability to discover new paths when obstacles pop up on current ones.

Abrena Rowe is a senior psychology major from Cincinnati. She is the outgoing Opinions and Editorials editor for the Newswire.