How Lucky I am To Have Something That Makes Saying Goodbye So Hard | Kelly Hughes' Senior Goodbye

1“You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.”

If you cannot already tell, there’s something you should know: I’m a very sappy person when it comes to change. Saying goodbye. Moving on. 

I’ve already cried in The Outlook office, and I’m sure more tears will be shed.  It’s hard for me to let go of these past four years at Monmouth, just as it was for me to let go of my high school years. Filled with nostalgia at what seems like yesterday writing my senior goodbye to my high school newspaper, the time has come again. But, how?

Without realizing it, I have transformed from an unknowing freshman who had no clue what I’d end up doing with my life to a senior who is finally confident in my professional skillset. I mean, that is what college was for, right?


Aside from plenty of embarrassingly fun nights out, I really am proud of the person I’ve become at Monmouth. Of all four years here, I really can only account for who I am today. It may have taken four years, but I’ve learned to let things roll off my back and not have expectations of people other than myself. I love who I am (and I like my choices too, Augustus Waters).  While I’m certainly not one of those people pumped to graduate, I guess I’ll have to accept it. 

I can’t help that I’m a nerd who loves school. And classes. And writing these stories. And laying out the paper in The Outlook every week. And all of the extracirricular activities I took on that I didn’t need to. It’s kind of unbelievable for it to be over. 

In the words of my girl, Rachel Fox though, “If life didn’t change, it would get boring.” That brings me to my ladies. The worst part about graduating is knowing I won’t be living with a house full of some of the most loyal, goofy, down to earth girls on this planet. If you know Maggie Zelinka, Gidget, Rachel Fox, Kyle O’Grady,  or Nicole Comitwhoo, you can vouch for me. 

3It’s a funny thing coming to college with your best friend since 7th grade (that’s you, Mogs), and not taking the easy way out by rooming together. Maybe fate is real because a mere decision like this led us to meet Gidget and Kyle. And who would I have to give me massages then, Mags? Not you!

For real though, Margaret M. Zelinka, thank you for forcing me to become an editor because now I can end up in Los Angeles, California and marry Julio. Thank you for being the most loyal and pleasant friend to ever walk this Earth. I’m not thanking you for being way too happy in the morning while my eyes aren’t ready to open. I have enjoyed watching you become the confident social butterfly you are today and I am really proud to be able to call myself your best pal. I could write a 30 page paper on our ridiculous adventures together, but I won’t subject anyone to those shenanigans involving Ducky, Pony, 99, 97, hotdogs and water balloons, you know the deal. If you’re one of the like, 10 people on this campus who doesn’t know Maggie, I suggest you find this girl. She’s life changing. Also, thank you Mr. Kind (he doesn’t even go here!) for being responsible for shaping our journalism journey together.

Gidget: I knew from the moment I met you move-in day freshman year, we were going to kill it together. I don’t know how we got so lucky to be randomly paired with each other, considering some freshman rooming horror stories. I also can’t fathom the fact that we won’t be living together after four years of ridiculousness. I’ll miss being couch bound with you and not having a worry in the world except having to get up to make mac and cheese. Thanks for: always DD’ing us so we can avoid TJ, being the hilarious, adorable person you are, and making college a positive experience from day one. The New York vs. Philly debate is endless, although I think it’s safe to say we’ve reached an agreement on both. 5

Rachel Fox: You’re a true ray of sunshine. Not many girls are lucky to come around a friend like you. When you find a Rachel Fox, you hold onto her forever. Rach, you’re incredibly smart and optimistic, and if more people were like you the world would be better place. I’ll miss our long runs by the beach and being able to talk to you about absolutely anything.

Kyle O’BABY! We are both depressed about graduating because that means we won’t be together anymore, but I know we’ll find success somewhere, right??? Thank you for always making me feel like I’m the most hilarious person in the world. And being there for me when I need someone to talk to. Also, you’re the best for writing for me every single week; you’re a lifesaver and a phenomenal writer.  I’ll always remember our crazy nights together since freshman year (well snippets of them, anyway).

Shout out to Nancy Gallo for helping Kyle and I on our dreaded journey into the real world. Couldn’t do it without ya, Nanc.

Nicole: You’re an amazing addition to the ladies and an inspiration to us all. You are so talented and your artwork is going to get you places one day. Thank you for being such a relaxed, happy person and letting me make fun of you all the time. Shout out to your awkwardness.

While I wish we all could be wasting hours in the dining hall again as careless underclassmen, we realized then that nothing lasts forever. That brings me to Diamond and Bruno in the dining hall: you guys rock and I wish you nothing but happiness.

And Professor Simoes: I’m so bummed I won’t get to enjoy another class of yours. Some students think your hard-ass attitude is too much,  but it’s certainly what I needed. You have a way with words and I will never be able to look back on college without remembering cracking up at your stories. You’re a beautiful, funny, creative and incredibly smart woman. But you already knew that.

To all my other buddies I have bonded with at MU, it’s going to suck not seeing you guys every weekend. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that we’ll never all be in the same place again.

hillsI also want to acknowledge the Outdoors Club and Professor Reynolds because my college experience would have not been the same if I didn’t go on a camping trip my first semester sophomore year with this group. MU’s Outdoors Club is full of the most non-judgemental, easy-going kids on this campus who welcome everyone in with open arms. Thank you all for inspiring me to be more adventurous and facing my fears. From white water rafting trips in freezing water to climbing across trees on hikes after Hurricane Sandy, the Outdoors Club ignited my spontaneous side. I love you guys and our unexpected friendships.

In addition, Outlook people: You guys are all super talented and our paper speaks to that volume because of all of your hard work. Big thanks for making Los Angeles my best memory of all time. Slaving away in here on Mondays and Tuesdays will surprisingly be missed, but my pants size will thank me (thanks, Juniors). 

Sandy, thank you for being the sweet, helpful and hard-working lady you are. Also, I appreciate you organizing LA and everything else for us. Bri, I will miss your outrageous stories and our laughs together along with your bubbly attitude. FAB,  (who’s s’cute) my Outlook experience seriously would NOT have been the same if we hadn’t bonded in Cali. I don’t want to leave you! Never forget Wisconsin boys and Stinky. Erin, truly, thanks for inspiring some girl power in me. Thanks to my writers and readers, too.

I have made some bad decisions in college, and I have made some good ones. I have also made some really good ones. I count joining The Outlook in that category. You absolutely cannot get the same experience from Monmouth that these involved students are getting, I promise you that. 

Becoming a part of something larger than your life provides a such a sense of satisfaction. At a place like Monmouth, you absolutely need to find your niche. These unknown territories will be full of people to go to who aren’t necessarily your best friends, but damn good ones.  

From the Outdoors Club to PRSSA and The Outlook, I have met some overwhelmingly phenomenal people on this campus. 

Looking back on my four years here, I leave you kids with three suggestions: 

21. Look past people’s horizons. Everyone is way more of a human being than what they lead you to believe so take a chance and just start a conversation with someone if you want to.  

2. Say yes to everything (with caution). A good fellow told my friends and I this over spring break in Cancun. This opportunity is only here for so long so make it a fun one. Thanks, Walt.

3. Learn to stop over-thinking. Can’t tell if the guy likes you because he liked your Instagram picture, but he didn’t text you back? Shrug your shoulders and move on. Life is so much bigger than this place and these people. Just let go of silly worries because they’ll impact your happiness. And YOUR happiness is all that matters at this moment in time.

I don’t necessarily want to say goodbye to Monmouth because I am uneasy about what the future holds. It seems like this really is as good as its ever gonna get, but we’ll see. Wherever I end up, I’ll be forever grateful that Monmouth helped to shape my identity. 

I think now would be an appropriate time to reference my future to my favorite book, Looking for Alaska.

“Thomas Edison’s last words were ‘It’s very beautiful over there.’ I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.”