Never forget your own history

Kevin Thomas is the outgoing Editor-in-Chief. He has been a member of the Newswire for the last four years and is an English and philosophy double major from St. Louis.

We are living through history. It’s a phrase I know we’ve all heard repeated often enough these days in almost every medium, a chorus sung by politicians, news anchors, comedians, family members, friends, people on Twitter and TikTok and everywhere else in between.

      “We are living through history” is a phrase I’m sure is starting to feel empty, not only because it has been repeated that often, but also because of how boring and depressing “living through history” seems to be. I thought it would be more exciting, not consisting of me staring at the ceiling in my parents’ house for unimaginable hours.

      Still, everyone repeating the mantra that has taken over this spring isn’t wrong. We are living through history with COVID-19 looming over our heads. This experience will be one that we’ll tell our kids about; this time will be recorded in history books, especially because of the implications it has that have yet to come.

      We are living through global history, but we cannot forget that we are also living through our personal histories, and we always have been. I think it’s more important that, during this time of chaos and confusion, we don’t forget we are always living through our own unique personal histories.

      This is the final opinion piece I will ever write for the Xavier Newswire. In terms of the grand scheme of global history playing out before our eyes, this article doesn’t matter. It’s meaningless to the ever-increasing death count in our own country.

      That said, this is probably the most important article I’ve written for this tiny newspaper I’ve been a part of since my first week at Xavier. This article, and my four years as part of this community (one I’ve been lucky enough to lead the last year), serves as an important reminder that I am not only living through global history, but also my own personal history.

      At some point during my first semester, when I was a lowly copy editor, I told a bunch of other people that I was going to be Editor-in-Chief by the time I graduated. When I said that, I was being cocky and overly confident. Nonetheless, here I am, writing my final opinion piece as the outgoing Editor-in-Chief.

      I’ve been through some tough times during my life at Xavier, to say the least. I’ve gone through periods of extreme food insecurity and days without eating because I couldn’t afford to. I’ve used GoFundMe to raise money so I could pay rent. I’ve had to ask for incompletes for several classes because I couldn’t manage to complete all the work I needed to. I’ve had more complete mental breakdowns than I can count on both hands. I’ve been to a dozen funerals. I should have failed a few classes, and only passed because of the good will of my professors.

      Throughout it all, this weird, confusing and incredible community has been here for me. I’ve had friends and classmates treat me to lunch, making sure I don’t go hungry again. I’ve had strangers give me money to support myself. I’ve had professors sit down with me for more time than they probably had, just to talk about how my life has been going and I’ve had professors be more lenient with grading than I deserve.

      Honestly, I wouldn’t have made it this far without them. The Xavier community and the things that you wonderful members of it have taught me, the things that have been given to me without asking for anything in return, have sustained me these last four years.

      The Newswire in particular has changed me beyond my own understanding. I have never been involved in such a tight-knit community for as long of a time as I have been with the Newswire. All the editors, writers and copy editors, past and present, have given me gifts I can never repay. John, our advisor, has done more than could ever be asked of him.

      What I’m trying to say is this: The global history we are living through will not record the effects the Xavier community has had on me. Only my personal history will celebrate what I’ve experienced.

      Please, remember that. While we are living through global history, we must also remember our personal history, the connections we have made and will continue to make during our time at Xavier. This community has created a massive debt for me, unfortunately both fiscally and emotionally, and it’s something I don’t know how to repay.

So, I guess I’ll leave you with two words: Thank you.