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Let’s hear it for the ladies

| Friday, May 17, 2019

A few weeks ago, I was driving the kids I babysit to a number of various locations while the two boys argued in the back seat. Punches were being traded, heads were in locks and tears were shed. And in the midst of all the chaos, a golden mop of hair piped up and said in tone only a newly-turned 8-year-old can get away with, “Brothers, huh? They’re too much. Girls should just run the world, right?”

At first I just laughed. But in thinking about what I wanted to write about for my final column, Abigail’s words kept coming back to me. I, like many of my classmates, have been reflecting on my last four years, and one of the themes I keep noticing is all the “girls” who have proven to me that women really can run the world.

I thought I had all the female role models I needed. And then in August 2015, I walked into McGlinn Hall for the first time. McGlinn has been a, if not the, central facet of my Notre Dame experience. Within its cinderblock walls are the people who defined my time here. They helped me grow, they encouraged me as I struggled and they supported me through every twist and turn. They were the greatest support system I ever could have asked for. We’ve laughed together and cried together. I’ll be forever grateful for the Mardi Gras dinners, the movie nights and the truly horrific Bookstore Basketball teams, but more than anything, I’ll be forever impressed by each and every one of you and forever thankful that you took in a stray friend and turned McGlinn from a building into a home.

The first face I saw when I walked into McGlinn was that of Sister Mary Lynch. Sister Mary, thank you for teaching me that stubbornness can be a good thing and that sometimes there is a correct way to go about things, and if that way if your way, that’s OK. But most importantly, thank you for being an example of resilience. If I could wake up one morning with just an ounce of your determination, I would be confident in my ability to overcome any challenge. Watching you battle this year while simultaneously being an incredible rector was an inspiration to everyone with whom you interacted.

As a senior, I was blessed to become a member of McGlinn Hall Staff (special shoutout to the members of 3A — thanks for making every day a little brighter). And while I thought I knew what I was signing up for, one of the things that came as a surprise to me was the unbelievable relationship that would develop between our lime-green polo shirt clad crew.

In our assistant rectors, Delaney and Katy, I found two older sisters. They showed me everything I missed out on growing up as an only child, from sharing clothes to being chased up the stairs. But they also provided a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen when if felt like the world was on my shoulders. I had a teacher in high school who always said if we ever had a load that became too much to bear, to let her carry it for us. Del and Katy, you unwittingly became the people carrying seven additional loads and, for that, I will never be able to thank you enough.

Which brings me to the other resident assistants. Morgan, Belin, Colleen, Siena, Talia and Marisa: you are my heroes. We’ve gotten through sleepless nights, allergy attacks and, in the words of Belin, “built a community.” I look up to you all every day and am grateful daily that someone had the foresight to matchmake the McGreatest group of key-jinglers I’ve ever met. I wish we had more time together, because a year will never be enough. I could write so much more about how much you have meant to me, but I just want to say that it’s been an honor to serve alongside you. Cheers to Hall of the Year, ladies.

I realize it sounds like in my four years at Notre Dame, I’ve never left my dorm. But trust me, there are no shortage of female role models the moment you step out under the permacloud. My Moreau teacher, Tami Schmitz, exudes love like no one I have ever met and supports every endeavor I have embarked on in the last four years like it’s her own. She’s been my personal cheerleader every step of the way and if every student could walk away from Notre Dame with some of the joy she brings into her job every day, the world would be a better place.

Dr. Liz Kerr is the engineer all women in the field should aspire to be. Thank you for being a pseudo-mom to the CEEES department, for keeping us all on the straight and narrow and making sure we all graduate (something more questionable than you might have thought it would have been at the start of the semester) and for getting us employed. But to me, personally, you’ve been so much more than an adviser. You’ve proven that work-life balance exists in engineering and welcomed me into your home. Thank you for being an inspiration to the female students in the department and been a bad— along the way.

And now, I’ve reached The Observer. I’ve spent countless hours in the basement of South Dining Hall, in press boxes, in gyms and locker rooms in the name of filling the paper. And it’s all been so incredibly worth it. When I joined the sports department as a freshman, it was referred to as “the sports patriarchy,” only sort of in jest. But over the last four years, as I rose through the ranks of the department, the breakdown has shifted and I am so proud to leave the department in the hands of a matriarchy. Ellen and Charlotte, you have come so far in the short time you’ve been writing and I am so proud to have had any involvement in your time at The Observer. I cannot wait to watch you take the world by storm and see what you come up with.

And, of course, Courtney. Watching you produce a mini-miracle every day as editor-in-chief was a true inspiration. It was like watching someone fulfill their destiny, but, at the same time, you took your destiny into your own hands and helped us leap over everything that came at us last year. You sacrificed so much for The Observer, but never gave up what you believed in, no matter how many people asked you to do so. I can’t wait to take New York with you.

And I’ve got to take a deep breath after all of these. Because honestly, none of it seems real yet. It seems like I’ll walk into McGlinn or Fitzpatrick or the office next week and someone will ask me to unlock a door or turn in an assignment or fix the printer. But with the help of all these ladies, I know I’ll be successful when I walk out of Notre Dame Stadium and into the real world.

So yes, Abigail. Hopefully this all answers your question. Girls should run the world. These girls, specifically, should run the world.

 

Elizabeth Greason is graduating with a degree in civil engineering. After graduation, she’ll head home to New York to watch the Mets inevitably blow their good start to the season before beginning work with Skanska Koch because no one loves bridges as much as she does. If you agree that Muffet McGraw deserves a statue on Notre Dame’s campus, feel free to reach out to her at [email protected]

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

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About Elizabeth Greason

Elizabeth is a senior studying civil engineering from New York, NY (yes, the actual city). She is a proud resident assistant in McGlinn Hall and is a die-hard Mets and Giants fan. She is currently serving as assistant managing editor of The Observer and she also has an obsession with golf that is bordering on unhealthy.

Contact Elizabeth