For many students, college is a time to find your home away from home. It’s your first real sense of freedom, a place where lifelong friends are made and often the first glimpse of what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. It’s exciting and scary and time to learn how to be a real adult.
Well, as I’m quickly approaching the end of my college career, I feel like I know less now than I did four years ago.
It’s a good thing, really. I’ve lived in Cincinnati for 22 years and didn’t leave my hometown for college. I was hesitant about coming to Xavier because I didn’t want to miss out on the “college experience.” But it turns out, even if you’re only a 25-minute drive away from your childhood home, the experience is what you make it.
I was scared that I wasn’t going to learn as much living so close to home. I already knew Cincinnati like the back of my hand and I even knew a few students on campus, so my sense of freedom felt kind of like riding a bike for the first time but with training wheels. Was I really independent if I had what felt like a huge safety net?
Turns out, training wheels can’t teach you how to deal with a difficult professor or what food to avoid in the caf. You have to do it for yourself.
Xavier has become the fireplace within my home. It may seem like a small part of a whole house, but it’s the centerpiece of my life right now — full of light and radiating warmth. It’s a perfect place to have tough conversations and to learn and grow in the comfort of your own community.
I’ve met some of the most compassionate, intelligent, lively and complex people in my life during the past four years. Xavier is a magnet for people with a will to make a difference and a flourish. Each and every person I’ve interacted with at Xavier has left me with more to think about than the last.
My time at Xavier has helped me realize that I don’t even know what I don’t know yet. I didn’t have that “ah-ha” moment where you finally know what you want to do with the rest of your life. I still have doubts every now and then about where my education will take me, sure. But what’s more powerful than the uncertainties are the invaluable lessons I learn everyday being a part of a community.
I didn’t expect to get so much out of a school that I was unsure about in my hometown. I guess in my own way I did leave the nest, my own little nest of insecurity. Being a part of Xavier, and especially Newswire, has given me the confidence to not know what’s next and to be OK with that.
So, to the students and to the best advisor out there, John, who will keep the Newswire alive and well, savor every late Tuesday night and staff meeting (even when they feel endless). You never know when it’ll be your last. Thank you all for being a part of my journey. Your sometimes outlandish and provocative opinions have taught me so much and made me a better editor.
While I’m heartbroken that my time with my amazing classmates was cut short, I’m confident that it won’t be the end for us. Xavier has a funny way of connecting people; for such a small university, we sure do have a lot of oomph.
I have no idea what’s next for me, a lot of us don’t. But what I do know is that I’m prepared for whatever is thrown my way.