Gabrielle Sangataldo’s Senior Goodbye

Some people may say that it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Personally, I’ve always hated this adage because why would I care more about the boring, cramped flight or car ride somewhere than the actual place I’m trying to see? You may be expecting me to say that college changed my mind on that, but I’m not going to; it only enforced my opinion.

Monmouth was not the first college I attended, or even my second—it was my third in a span of four years. My first school was the United States Air Force Academy, for which I spent the better part of my high school senior year preparing academically, physically, and emotionally. After six months of my own COVID-infested circle of hell called “USAFA,” I successfully Form 34’ed and moved cross-country back home. I didn’t want to fly planes or join the Space Force; when asked about my career aspirations, I was the only one in any given environment to reply, “Public Relations.”

And that was the thing, wasn’t it? I was quite literally at an institution where I could’ve said I wanted to be a five-star General and maybe would’ve achieved it. But I didn’t want that; my mind was still on media, and I held out hope for the closest form of journalism that was offered. And by still, I mean since my sophomore year of high school when, in my English class, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I have always written because I needed a way to continue silently talking when everybody else eventually tuned out. In fourth grade, I used to write short stories in a wide-ruled, spiral notebook and (embarrassingly) read them out loud in front of the entire class after recess. In middle school, I was always the one who would choose the “short story” option when asked how I wanted to show that I knew my vocab words. In high school, I spent my senior year taking three English classes because I absolutely loved all things reading, writing, and creating. Realistically, I always knew that being an author wasn’t a job you could eventually just apply for—but then I watched the musical “Newsies,” and journalism it was. Get paid to write? Sign me up.

So, I enrolled in community college, quite literally biding my time until I had to transfer again. Monmouth by any means was not a school I had even heard of my first time around applying, and I only heard of it the third time because my best friend lives 30 minutes away and she was planning on transferring here too. On a whim, and without much research into the fact, Monmouth became the institution where I’d receive my Bachelor’s. Finally.

Immediately, I knew I had to join “The Outlook.” So, I did. I wrote as much as I could, naturally gravitating more towards music since music journalism was always the goal, and then was asked to be the Entertainment Editor. Then I was asked to be Editor-in-Chief and News Editor, all within the span of a year. I was beyond excited. And nervous. And stressed. And probably every other emotion in between.

I came into this year knowing there were certain things I wanted to achieve for the paper. Though I know I complained multiple times to my roommates about having to stay in the newsroom until 9 p.m. most Tuesdays, everybody knows I wouldn’t have left any earlier if it meant the paper wouldn’t be the best it could be every week. I had never really written much for News prior to being its Editor, yet I found myself spending weeks at a time investigating stories that everybody knew yet nobody was talking about. I brought it upon myself to slap my name on the facts if it meant that those who didn’t want to or couldn’t speak up still had their voices heard. I wanted to make the paper better, but I never would have anticipated striving to make Monmouth better, too. I hope that I’ve achieved both of those things, at least a little bit. That being said, I know I could not have achieved anything without my fellow “Outlook” Editors and writers, who continued to impress, inspire, and challenge me week after week. We few truly know the hard work that goes into producing this paper, and I thank each and every one of you for your unwavering dedication and drive. None of it could happen without you.

I really want to thank “The Outlook’s” faculty advisor Marina Vujnovic, Ph.D., for being an incredible mentor in such an underappreciated and blatantly disrespected field. Without your patient guidance and unwavering support, I know that many of the objectives I wished to achieve this semester would not have been as fruitful as they were. You’ve walked me through all of my endless questions and have been more than willing to read through thousands of words of my articles; what more could a student ever ask for? You truly are the definition of a strong female journalist that any woman in the field could call a role model. I also want to thank “The Outlook’s” very own Entertainment Editor Taylor Memoli, who is so incredibly eager for and accepting of being next year’s Editor-in-Chief. I can remember the first time I taught you how to use InDesign, and now you’re better than me. They grow up so fast, and I have no doubt that the paper will thrive even more next year under your leadership.

I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world somehow, since there is so much that needs to be changed, and I’d like to think that I’m leaving Monmouth having made it a little bit better than how I found it. As I graduate and hope to pursue a career in the Big World as a journalist, perhaps I could fold just this once and say that the journey really hasn’t been all that bad after all.