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A thank-you marathon

| Monday, April 24, 2023

In 28 days, the seniors and their supporters will hear graduation speeches with inevitable lists of thank you’s. We will be thanking professors for their knowledge and guidance, and staff for their care and hard work. We will be thanking our friends for their companionship and camaraderie, and family — including chosen family — for supporting us through it all. We will be thanking the campuses for the colors in the fall, the glittering blanket of snow in the winter and for always returning to spring blossoms. And at least I will be thanking God for the blessing of education…and that we survived it.

I am grateful, from the bottom of my heart and soul for each person listed above.

Beyond that list, though, there are other thank you’s on my mind – of a less gut-wrenchingly sad but still sentimental nature. 

I have been looking around at my campus more closely lately, striving to see all the little details once more, and more deeply, before I walk across a stage and officially off of Saint Mary’s campus. All those little things I walk by every day have been the materiality of my four years spent within these 140 acres.

So here we go:

Thank you to the cinder blocks (yes, the cinder blocks) in my first-year dorm room for holding up my photos alongside my lofted bed.

Thank you to the (previously) questionably rickety elevator in McCandless for motivating me to climb five flights of stairs every day of my first year.

Thank you to the Avenue for being my running path, until I found another fitness hyperfixation.

Thank you to the piano practice rooms in Moreau for giving me space to take a deep breath during COVID semesters.

Thank you to the tall ceilings of Holy Cross Hall for making our closet of a room feel a bit bigger.

Thank you to the snow that makes everything quiet, and thank you for the birds and the flowers for coming back in the spring. 

Thank you to my “black hole” backpack for carrying the load of an English major … and Communications Studies major …  and a Theater minor. Oh! And the books I tried to read for leisure alongside all of it.

Thank you to my favorite, reliable Pilot G-2 0.38 pens. Couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you to the trees, for your shade, your sweetness and your gentle sounds during my island bench naps.

Thank you to the fourth floor of Cushwa-Leighton library for making me feel like my ideas had room to play … and of course the third floor for, well, reasons. If you work in the Writing Center, you’ll know.

Thank you to Opus Hall, for letting me (finally!) live close to all my classes in Spes and Madeleva. 

As I’ve reflected on my home here in the Bend over the last four years, and all the thank you’s I’ll be saying, I remembered one very important thank you … or rather, a very late addressing of a forgotten thank you.

Four years ago, I forgot to thank my brother in my high school salutatorian speech. I thanked my parents, my teachers, the staff, my friends, my grandparents, everybody … except my little brother. 

*insert forehead smack here*

And yes, Hammond, you’re nearly 6-feet tall but will always be my little brother (in the best way).

So here is my thank you:

Hammond, thank you for being you, and honestly, the best brother I could have ever asked for (though I’m biased, of course).

We definitely annoyed each other to no end, and to our parents’ wit’s end at times, but I wished for nothing and nobody else to annoy and be annoyed by. I am so grateful that we’ve become closer as we move out and farther apart.

Thank you for nerding out over books with me our whole lives, keeping me updated on all our favorite series and movie adaptations, and for buying me an insanely dense book for no reason except kindness.

Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and knowledge about Marvel movies, and turning it into something else we could share while away from home and for all the nights group-watching whatever new series was out. I loved sharing those “um…WHAT JUST HAPPENED” moments over the phone.

Thank you for your advice on running, even if I was not having it at the time…

Thank you for being my family vacation buddy — you and me, bro.

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the support and love you’ve shown me, and for forgiving my mistake four years ago.

Love you, salmon.

And thanks, to both my brother and you, reader, for bearing with me through the sentimental stuff. 

I will be saying many more thank you’s to many more people in the looming end of the semester, but I figured I’d start early. 

My bonus thank you in this column will be to The Observer, for giving me a space to share my thoughts as my mind is overwhelmed with, well, everything. Even though it’s a part of my job description.

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

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