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viewpoint

A real ending

| Friday, May 18, 2018

I am not a sentimental person, which makes attending a school like Notre Dame, whose entire identity and tradition is built on a profound sense of sentiment, a little strange at times.  

As second semester began to wind down, a lot of “lasts” started to be commemorated, continuing all the way up until graduation. I’m not always a participant in the nostalgia, but I think that shows how well I’ve been prepared for what comes next.

With each “last” there is a gut reaction that a lot of people have to refuse to admit defeat: this will not be the last time, this is not the end, it’s not over yet, there’s still time.

But for most of these occasions, it very much is the end, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Endings don’t have to be inherently tragic, or even sad. There’s only time up until there isn’t.

College may be an extremely formative four years, but it’s only four years and, without the convenience of place, there are a lot of people you’ll never talk to after graduation, classrooms you’ll never revisit and dorm rooms you’ll never hang out in again.

Just because something is definitively over doesn’t mean it wasn’t important or isn’t worth celebrating. After all, these four years have been incredibly important for everyone graduating, for better or for worse.   

It’s not that I won’t miss my friends — I will. But sometimes, the best thing for your relationships is to allow each other to grow in a way that wouldn’t be possible if you stayed at college forever. I may not be able to see every moment of growth for my friends the way I could when we lived in the same hallway, or when the walk from Mod Quad to South Quad was the greatest distance we ever had to worry about, but I can still celebrate that growth. Leaving doesn’t mean there isn’t room for each other as you move forward, just that the space you previously took up might be differently occupied, moved and changed.  

The Observer has occupied a lot of my space the past few years, despite the fact that I never really planned to join. I started writing the second semester of my freshman year for no real reason other than that I hadn’t done any extracurriculars the first semester and they were the people I received the most emails from. I had never written for a newspaper before and, after I submit this column, it’s unlikely that I ever will again.

This column is a real ending, one that’s more definite, easier to pin to an exact moment than some of the other endings that will be passing — some unnoticed — in the coming weeks. If I were to get sentimental about something, it would be The Observer; I’ve invested far too much time to be indifferent to the end of its place in my life, but it’s in the hands of friends, and I have no qualms or regrets about leaving.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Megan Valley

Megan Valley was Assistant Managing Editor for The Observer. She majored in English and the Program of Liberal Studies and hailed from Flushing, Michigan.

Contact Megan