Isabella Hanna’s Senior Goodbye

Most of us have heard at one time or another the age-old expression, “It takes a village”— a common idiom used to describe the effort that goes into raising a child. This “village” is a diverse collective, united by their commitment to one’s well-being and success. Considering the family, friends, educators, and mentors that have come and gone in my life, my “village” looks more like a small city. As I look forward to accepting my Bachelor’s in Management and Marketing at the conclusion of this semester, I am reminded of how indebted I am to those who have set before me this race.

Since I could remember, my parents took every opportunity to emphasize the importance of education; more specifically, a college education. Only recently have I realized the experience with which they speak and the wisdom behind such words.

My mom was the first to attend and graduate college and is the only person in her entire family (fellow Italians understand the many cousins I reference) to have earned a doctorate degree. Born to immigrant parents, she persevered despite familial expectations and financial challenges. Now, she supports me the way she would have wanted. While some see a polished student, she’s the one behind the scenes rubbing that stain out of my shirt, helping me print and staple my papers, and packing my lunch as I race out of the house with negative seconds to spare. All in all, she does more than I could ever put on paper, inspiring me with her selflessness, love, and, of course, time management. So, to my most dedicated reader and biggest cheerleader, thank you.

Although I wish I took more after him, I am thankful to have at least inherited my dad’s love of writing. I grew up hearing about his experiences as Editor in Chief of his university newspaper and couldn’t help but follow in his footsteps. Even though English is his second language, my dad’s command of grammar rules and creative, written expression triumph mine. Nonetheless, he has always made the effort to impart his knowledge, sharing whatever insight he can to help me navigate the newspaper, my academics, and life in general. I realize not everyone is as fortunate to have someone in their corner encouraging them to strive for better, hence why I am so grateful to my dad for challenging me to constantly pursue the best and latest draft of myself (pun intended).

How the list can go on! To my grandparents who are better described as two sets of second parents, thank you for passing down knowledge I could never learn from any textbook or class. To my brothers who are overly cautious of laughing at my jokes, thank you for reminding me that some things are better left unsaid. To my friends who are more like role models, thank you for teaching me through your actions. To my teachers past and present, thank you for fostering my love for learning (and extending deadlines). To my mentors and managers, thank you for giving me a chance.

In the past three years, my small city has grown to include The Outlook. Every week, I am humbled by our writers and editorial staff. Just as a village joins forces to uplift a single person, we likewise come together to produce a weekly issue of our paper, putting out the best coverage and content we can muster as full-time students with responsibilities outside of the newsroom.

What you read for ten minutes is the product of sleepless nights and our team’s unwavering commitment to the Monmouth community. Let me break it down even further— to write, find/interview sources, edit, and finalize a single article takes, on average, four hours (yes, I actually did the math). If you were to multiply that average to 25 articles, which is how many typically appear in one issue, that yields about 100 hours of work, or four days. Every publication is a tangible illustration of our desire to amplify voices that are unheard, stories that are unknown, and accomplishments that would otherwise be forgotten.

I want to extend a special thanks to Professor Marina Vujnovic, Ph.D., who has mentored me with grace and patience as I, a business student, navigate the world of journalism and my role as a student leader. You are a comforting presence in the newsroom, and the newspaper is not what it is without your guidance. As for my friends and graduate assistants, Abby and Melissa—thank you for your support and expertise as I grew into my responsibilities this year. Lastly, thank you to our amazingly talented and kind group of editors; you make it all worth it in the end.

No honor, award, or achievement is accomplished without help from one’s support system and community. As I move on to writing my next chapter, I only hope that I can pay forward what others have generously passed on to me.