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Four Years at the Mount

Junior year

The freshman writer

Lydia Olsen
Class of 2016

(9/2014) It was only a month or so ago that Gabby had moved into her new home at Mount St. Mary's University. She was a freshman and was still trying to get settled into college life. Gabby wasn’t quite sure what career she wanted to pursue or where she will be in ten years, but she believed that when the time is right she will figure it all out. Gabby came into college only knowing a few people. She had joined a few clubs and was really starting to find her passions, but something was missing. Until one weekday, late in the evening, she was checking her email and she saw something that caught her eye.

One of the multiple emails she received that day detailed a newspaper in the local community looking for a freshman writer for a column called "Four Years at the Mount." Gabby was extremely interested but thought that she might not be good enough to fill the position. She sat at her desk and rocked back and forth in her chair as she contemplated. She could not make up her mind. "Typical," she thought to herself, knowing she was indecisive nearly every minute of her day. "Just do it," she convinced herself. "I believe in you." And with that, Gabby moved the mouse of her computer to the top right and hit the reply button. She then wrote…

Dear Writers of the Emmitsburg News Journal,

My name is Gabby Peterson and I am a freshman here at the Mount. I am very interested in learning more about becoming the freshman writer for the column entitled, "Four Years at the Mount." I have always loved to write and find it is a great way to express myself. I think that I could be a great addition to your team and would love to have your consideration. I have attached a sample of my writing that I wrote recently for one of my classes. Please let me know if you need anything else in addition. Thank you so much!

"There," she thought. "I think that sounds good." Yet, she stared at the page again and again making sure she did not make any silly errors. After moments of hesitation, Gabby finally found the courage to hit send.

At first she thought, "What have I done?" Gabby did not have much confidence in herself or in her writing. She believed that her writings were a true reflection of her and clearly projected her as a young woman. Gabby was afraid to be vulnerable and was nervous about letting others into her life by letting them read what she had written from the heart. She even had trouble handing in her papers in high school for fear that her teachers were going to judge her or what she wrote about. However, this fear was always ridiculous because her teachers applauded her on many occasions and she was always told that writing was her strongest subject. Gabby was just still learning to believe in herself and to be confident in her talents.

A few days passed without an email response to Gabby’s interest in writing for the paper. Gabby was anxious but tried to not think about it. Then an email response came. Gabby eagerly opened it and read its contents.

Dear Gabby,

Thank you for your email and for your interest in writing for the Emmitsburg News-Journal. Our staff has read your sample piece and has decided to consider you for the position. We would like you to come to our next meeting to discuss the possibility. We will be meeting on Monday night at eight o’clock in the library. Please let me know if this works within your schedule. Thank you and hope to see you soon!

"Wow!" Gabby said out loud as a smile spread across her face. She could not contain her excitement.

Monday rolled around and Gabby could not wait to meet the staff members. She headed to the library and walked in before realizing that she had no idea who she was supposed to be meeting or where they would be sitting. Gabby stood in the front of the library for a few moments wondering what to do.

"Hi, are you Gabby?" she heard a voice beside her say as she turned and saw a young woman with dark brown hair approach her and smile.

"Yes, are you with the Emmitsburg News-Journal?" Gabby responded, glad she did not have to stand alone any longer.

"Yes I am. My name is Kathryn. Would you like to come and sit with us? We are just waiting for a few more people."

Gabby smiled and said, "Sure!" before heading over to the table and taking a seat.

The full staff from the Mount began to appear and each took a seat at the table. Everyone was talking, laughing and eager to discuss the previous month’s edition before brainstorming ideas for the next month’s theme. At the head of the table sat a man named Mike who spoke with excitement about animals and history while also quizzing the rest of the staff as if they were all playing trivia. He spoke to Gabby in between questions of Emmitsburg history and made sure that she was up for the position. Mike made sure Gabby was planning on sticking around at the Mount for all four years and told her that he was glad to have her as part of the team. He mentioned that he had really liked the sample piece she submitted, and Gabby’s smile could not have been larger.

As the meeting was ending, Gabby got to hear what the theme would be for her first piece in the Emmitsburg News-Journal and her mind flooded with ideas. She could not wait to get started and see her name and article in print for the first time.

Before each staff member headed back to their residence building, they all hiked over to a parking lot that had only one little, red car in it. Mike opened up the trunk and handed each staff member a bundle of newspapers.

Gabby reached out and held her stack with her arms wrapped around it. Each person decided which building they were going to take their stack to and then shouted goodbyes to each other as they walked in different directions.

"We will be in contact," Kathryn turned to Gabby and said. "I am so excited to have you as part of our team!"

"I am so glad to be here. I am really looking forward to working with you all!" Gabby responded earnestly. And with that, she headed off to deliver her stack of newspapers. Her feet could barely keep from running as she eagerly desired to get back to her dorm room and call her mother to tell her the good news. As Gabby swung open the door to her residence hall and plopped the stack of newspapers onto the front desk, she thought about all the opportunities this new position was to bring. That little thing that seemed to be missing a week or so ago was not missing anymore. Gabby had been given the chance to write for the community newspaper and she was beyond thrilled. She could not wait to grab her computer and let her fingers type the words her heart and mind wanted to say.

Read other articles by Lydia Olsen