I remember my preschool graduation as if it were yesterday: my five-year-old self practically gushing with joy. (Even though it was mandatory to wear all blue. I, of course, was more of a pink girl.)
All I kept thinking was, “I did it. I survived preschool. I’m one step closing to being a grown up.”
I was the anti-Peter Pan back in the day. I always wanted to grow up. I would fantasize about where I would be in 20 years. Even though, at that time, my future career was a toss up between being a nurse and a Broadway actress. (Alas, I’ve come to terms with the fact I’ll be neither.)
But the tables have turned. Now that I’m practically being pushed out the door into the real world, I’ve regretted my rush to jump into adulthood.
Truth be told, I’m scared to leave the safety of John Carroll – a place I’ve grown to love. I’m terrified of diving headfirst into the uncertainty of the dark, big abyss I’d like to call, “grown-up central.” And, as graduation day rapidly approaches, I’ve wrestled with the fear of falling on my face.
But then, I take a step back and realize there’s a giant support system surrounding me.
And, this support system has been here for four years (and more). So, needless to say, I feel a bit foolish for thinking these selfish thoughts.
Then, these thoughts of self-pity usually transform into feelings of thanks. And I owe a lot of my thanks to The Carroll News for shaping me into the woman and leader I am today. So, here goes the cliché thank you speech. I apologize if I continue to ramble on even if the music keeps playing and they signal for me to wrap it up and switch to a commercial.
(Warning: Here comes the waterworks.)
To former and current Carroll News staff: Thank you. I’ve been inspired by all the hours, blood, sweat and tears you all put into this paper. Thanks for pushing me to be a better leader, writer and editor.
To Dr. Finucane: Thank you. Thanks for being one of the first friendly faces I met at JCU, being an inspirational director of the Arrupe Scholars Program for three of my years on campus and for encouraging me to get involved in campus media.
To Dr. Buchanan: Thank you. You’ve been one of my greatest mentors at John Carroll University. Thanks for your words of wisdom and encouragement over the years. I’m going to miss your classes and dropping by your office for our occasional chats.
To Bob Noll: Thank you. Bob, I don’t know where to even start. Not only were you one of the best professors and mentors I’ve had, but you’ve always believed in me and shown me kindness. And, as simple as that sounds, sometimes this sort of kindness and encouragement can be hard to find.
To my best friend and bro, Joe Ginley: Thank you. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you over the last year and some change. You’ve made me laugh during some of the most trying times, been a shoulder to lean on, a person to throw red pens at when I got slaphappy (thanks for being a champ) and been one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. Joe, you’re like the little brother I never had. I can’t wait to see the great things you’re going to do in the world of journalism. Big things are coming your way, and I couldn’t be prouder.
To my boyfriend (and other best friend), Dale Armbruster: Thank you. It’s crazy to think you’ve been one of my biggest support systems over the past year and have been approximately 370 miles away (give or take). You seriously should get an award for that (or at least a high-five). I probably would’ve lost my sanity if it wasn’t for our late-night newsroom Skype sessions and dance parties. Thanks for the laughs, pep talks and pointing out my typos.
To my parents: Thank you. You’ve always been my number one cheerleaders, and supported my crazy aspirations of pursuing a career in writing. Mom, I’ll never forget when you came to my freshman dorm room with freshly baked brownies to celebrate my first published article in the paper. Dad, thanks for the philosophical talks that would spark some of the greatest Higl’s Squiggles column ideas. To both of you, thanks for always showing up to everything I do with pompoms in hand, listening to me rant on the phone for hours and assuring me I won’t have to live in a box and eat ramen for the rest of my life.
And, most importantly, to my readers: Thank you. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the support you’ve shown me through emails and face-to-face and over the phone conversations. These columns would just be words on a page without you. You make the writing come to life. If my writing sparks conversations, debate and criticism, I’ve done my job. But, this is impossible without you.
And this feeling of thanks trumps my feeling of fear of the unknown. So, to my fans and haters, I say thank you, and farewell for now.