Thoughts on sledding and life
Stephen Hannon | Monday, April 12, 2021
It’s that time of year again, when the graduating Observer seniors write columns looking back on their past for years. But as a graduating Observer senior in These Unprecedented Times, I’m going to use my last column to write about COVID-19, on-campus abortion housing and the leggings vaccine.
Just kidding. Buckle up and indulge me, we’re taking a trip over my last three-and-a-half years.
Life is like sledding down a hill: you can steer a little bit, but a lot is controlled by your environment and other people bumping into you, and it starts out slow and only gets faster and faster. I am incredibly lucky that this section of my hill has had gorgeous scenery and been mostly smooth — but just bumpy enough to keep me on my toes and remind me that other people’s hills are rockier and that mine could be rockier one day, too. I am also grateful that the sledders around me guide me in the right direction: they warn me of treacherous territory ahead and redirect me when I veer off course. These companions arrive and leave as time goes by, although thankfully, more have arrived than have left.
Through all these cherished friends, one stands out for both longevity and closeness. He arrived on my hill nearly four years ago (July 8, 2017, to be exact, in an email with the subject line “Roommates”), and we drew close over the course of that fall and have remained nearly inseparable. Kevin, I am endlessly grateful for how you have shaped me, challenged me, accompanied me and encouraged me. You have an uncanny ability to make me laugh and think, and to annoy me — sometimes all at the same time.
I could fill 500 words trying to name all the people who have had an impact on me at Notre Dame, but I would be remiss not to appreciate Haley, Matt and Zeke for the light they have brought to my life as well. As this section of my hill draws to a close, I know we will all have to become more physically separate as we chart our own paths. But I am confident my companions will continue to nudge me helpfully throughout the rest of our lives, just as I will do to them.
There is a special place in my heart for The Observer, and it’s not just because it has given me the platform to write this column. It has given me plenty of resume-building skills and job-interview-answering experiences (feel free to endorse me on LinkedIn), but that’s also not why I joined or why I’ve become so involved. Rather, it’s the many good friends and good memories forged over many hours in the basement of South Dining Hall. I’m grateful for the people who took a chance on a kid who joined a newspaper with no desire to write articles and trusted him and gave him confidence to do more. Again, there are too many people to thank by name, but Liz deserves special kudos for being the one to welcome me into the door.
Thank you to everyone for sledding with me, and here’s to new hills.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.