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Four Years at the Mount

The Graduate


Leeanne Leary
Class of 2017

(9/2017) A few months ago, right before the commencement ceremonies at the Mount, I wrote a farewell to the Mount, my friends, professors, and all that accompanies life on the Mountain. Now, as students are preparing to say goodbye to summer and move back to campus for another year, I find myself saying another farewell, only this one feels more real.

As incoming freshmen are walking into their dorms for the first time setting up beds, desks, and laying down carpets all tied together by a unified color scheme and rising seniors are throwing garbage bags full of clothes, lamps, and sheets into apartments, I am sitting in Ft. Lee, VA out of the loop.

A large part of me thought that this moment would feel weird. The residence life and admissions offices are posting pictures of Pre-Orientation trips and I have friends positing about their final days of summer, and again, here I sit in what seems like a different world.

After this edition, I will no longer write for the Emmitsburg News-Journal and what seems like my final tie to Emmitsburg will begin to fade. I started writing for this newspaper when I was eighteen years old. I didnít know what I would end up majoring in, I didnít know what passions I would find, I didnít even know what religion I claimed. Yet, I sat down in front of a laptop that has since been deemed garbage, and wrote about a fundraising for Cancer event for my first article.

Over the past four years, anyone who has stuck with me has read as I figured these things out. I changed my major, joined ROTC on a whim, made my best friends, struggled through typical college stressors, took my very first trip to Haiti, ventured to India, Bulgaria, and Canada, and came out alive.

Not only did these things happen to me as they do to most people, but this Newspaper gave me the very exclusive and quasi-surreal chance to record it all as it happened. I could flip back to my March 2015 edition and probably feel the stress coming from my words as I prepared to watch all of my friends graduate at the end of my sophomore year. I could find August 2014 and marvel at my response to my first trip to a third world country, and track how that trip turned into my life over the next three years. I could pull out December 2014 and read between the lines to see a falling out with friends and how patience and apologies ruled over any classwork that might be on the table. October 2016 holds the tale of my student teaching and the 120 eighth graders I saw every day. Spring of 2017 found my love for Creative Writing and my Senior Research. This newspaper, even if nobody has been reading, even if you have only read the titles of my articles each month, has documented every ounce of growth during my time at the Mount, and it did it without me even realizing it.

The Mount will continue to go on, growing in virtues, community, leadership, discipleship, and so much more year after year as classes come and go. The Mount moves forward as the world does, and right now a new Freshman student is moving into the dorm I cried and laughed and yelled and danced in four years ago. The majority of these passing years will never be rightfully documented or properly remembered. Some will end up as pictures in the front lobbies of the freshmen dorms and others will receive awards that earn them an engraved plate with a list of previous students, but the moments in between will exist primarily in memories and Instagram collages. Because of this newspaper and its readers, this will not be the case for me.

I probably wasnít always the most interesting read. Sometimes I was so caught up in the world of school that my articles were written frantically before deadlines. Sometimes I stared at my computer screen for hours listening to Taylor Swift Pandora and eating chocolate Ice Cream as I waited for the articles to write themselves. Sometimes my articles that sounded nice in my head turned into a blatant stream of roaming consciousness that never came to much of a conclusion. Regardless, the opportunity to share my perspective and my life with all of you and with my future self has been just that, an incredible opportunity.

What comes next for me is finally coming together. I will be moving full-time to Haiti in November of this year to teach. I will fly home for drill once a month and continue to try to live the double life that I hope I am called towards. What will come of that is entirely uncertain, but, as everything else has done over the past four years, I know that it will figure itself out and make much more sense than I could have planned for. What I do know, is that I will write it all down. This four-year journey has taught me so much, but through this newspaper I have learned one of the most important lessons and that is to document, always. Everything will work out, or at least it has so far, but if it doesnít get written down, half the experience is lost. Writing captures all, and as I flip through the past four years of editions, this becomes all the more obvious. So, though I am certainly not qualified to be giving life advice yet, I do have one piece of it; write it down, read it later.

Read other articles by Leeanne Leary