A ‘thank you’ before I go

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Three years ago, I was failing and withdrawing from business classes at UM-Dearborn. I felt I was failing as a student, a daughter, a person. 

I considered dropping out and going to cosmetology school (surprise, mom and dad!) to study special FX makeup. 

On March 21, 2018, I walked into my advisor’s office and changed my major from Pre-business to Journalism and Screen Studies, with a minor in Digital Marketing (which I scribbled “maybe” underneath, and eventually swapped for Communications).

I knew this would add an extra year to my expected graduation date. 

My grades turned around. Suddenly I was actually enjoying going to class (who knew?), and in both April and December 2019, I earned University Honors.

In February 2019, the Michigan Journal’s Arts & Entertainment editor, who happened to be in one of my classes, sent out a recruitment email. Reluctantly, I approached her in class and asked for some more info. Before I knew it, I was writing newspaper-page-long articles (sorry, Aubree!) about pop stars. 

That April, I was chosen to take over the Arts & Entertainment section. Ask my friends- I cried tears of joy.

Working under the amazing Chanel Stitt, I learned so much. My writing improved, as did my love for the field. Was I exhausted all the time? Yes. 

In December 2019, I was chosen as the new Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Journal. I would run the paper until my graduation (hallelujah) in April 2020. 

Thanks to the Michigan Journal, I attended a Forbes Under 30 Summit, attended MoPop, attended a Bernie Sanders Town Hall, attended a Christian French concert, met singer ASTN, learned what an Oxford comma is, and made amazing friends.

Then, in March, one day before exactly a year after my first piece as a staff writer was published for the paper, I cleaned out my EIC office and left campus for the last time.

I couldn’t wait to graduate. I couldn’t wait to wear my cap and gown and walk across that stage and probably have to keep myself from having an anxiety attack.

“It goes by so fast,” everyone told me.

“Not fast enough,” I used to say back.

Now it’s over, and I never got closure. So many of us grads never got closure. 

But that doesn’t mean our hard work was for nothing. In the years to come, we’ll always be known as that graduating class, the ones that somehow completed classes and internships in the midst of a global pandemic.

I’m thankful for my time at UM-Dearborn. I’ve met amazing people, some of which I’m now lucky to call friends. I’ve met amazing people who have had a larger impact on my life than they will ever know. 

There’s a quote by The Dalai Lama that I’m pretty sure I found while scrolling through Pinterest, but it’s gotten me through some crazy times.

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

If you think things are falling apart, give it time. Things may actually be falling into place. Love yourself and live your life for you.

Thank you to:

Dan Shine, for teaching me the Fundamentals of Journalism and keeping me engaged enough to not switch my major again. Thanks to your class, I’m where I am today.

Jim Schaefer, for making Copy Editing and Advanced Reporting both the most informative and entertaining classes I have ever taken, and for being a mentor when you probably didn’t even know you signed up for the job.

Bill McMillan, for giving me my first U of M football game experience and for making covering sports my dream job.

Karen Shaper, for dealing with my anxiety-riddled shaky voice during speech class and for hugging every student on the last day of class. You were an amazing teacher.

Kyle Sutherland, for making signing up for classes a much easier experience and for dealing with my ten thousand emails.

Jeffery Oshnock, for reminding me to always “be happy about it” and for being like a second father to me. You made such a positive impact on my life that I will never be able to repay you for. You kept me on path when I was losing sight of it.

Ben Wielechowski, for making a summer class one of the best classes I’ve taken.

Samantha Petrak, for making me not hate Spanish class.

Tony Luckett and Liz Clark, for giving me great internship experiences and pizza parties in class.

Chris Samfilippo, for being one of the kindest people.

Erik Marshall, for being one of the coolest teachers ever.

Tim Kiska, for believing in me.

Katherine Majeske, for teaching me Excel and for complimenting my eyelashes.

Troy Murphy, for making history fascinating.

Dr. Will Clarkson, for teaching the most interesting class at UM-Dearborn.

Gramma and Papa, for always being there for me and sending me home with snacks.

Kinsey, for keeping me from going insane and introducing me to some great podcasts.

Kim, for helping me get through hellish math.

Katilynn, Leslie and Leah O., for taking a chance on me.

Chanel, for being a leader, a friend and an icon.

Jeremy, for putting up with my craziness.

Vanessa, for always saying “love you” before you hang up the phone, and for taking a year off from college to help raise me.

Madisyn and Mariam, for being the sunshine in my life always. 

Mom and Dad, for not kicking me out after I took an extra year to graduate and not freaking out when I dyed my hair pink that one summer, or when I came home with a tattoo (both times). 

I could not have done it without any of you. Thank you.