By Meaghan Menzel
I think my inspiration to go to college, next to my parents of course, may have been reading “Anne of Green Gables.” It just always amazed me that this imaginative, accident-prone red-head was also a smart, hardworking girl who thrived in college.
The summer I began to prepare and brace myself for freshman year at Washington College, I honestly did not expect to come here to have fun. Both of my parents worked very hard through college, so I figured my experience wouldn’t be any different. Throughout my four years here, though, I have made some awesome friends in unexpected places around Chestertown and the College, and I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had here.
I also never expected to work in journalism. I really had no interest in it. That was until I realized that I had to find my beat whether it was through cartooning, copy editing, writing about visiting authors, or all of the above. Working for The Elm has helped me make a place for myself here at WC.
My freshman year, I learned that no one wanted to stick with writing about Lit House events, so I took up the Lit House Beat and have loved every minute of it — writing about and meeting visiting authors such as Meg Kearney and Alice McDermott, and sharing their advice and craft, and spreading their messages. This beat has been one of the most enlightening experiences for me, and I couldn’t have been luckier to snag it before someone else did.
This semester, I even got to start up “The Pet of the Week” beat. I met awesome people at the Humane Society of Kent County and heard my fair share of heartbreaking and heartwarming stories about the dogs and cats there.
Cat, Elm staffers—I’m counting on you to find someone to take my place for both of these beats. They are my children, they are equally important and life changing, and they need tending to. I will email you every week if I have to: “Did you find someone yet? Did you find someone yet?”
Aside from working for The Elm, there are quite a few things about WC and Chestertown that I’m going to miss—the literary community and opportunities here, the Lit House events and workshops, this small town with a farmer’s market, even the river. I will also miss a lot of the people I’ve met, and I’d like to offer some thank yous to certain people who’ve made my experience here the best.
Thank you to The Elm and Collegian staff and Melissa McIntire. Working with you guys has really helped me improve as an editor and writer.
Thank you, Mike Kaylor. You’re probably one of the best friends I’ve made at WC, and I’m going to miss you and the bookbinding and letterpress workshops. I’ll make sure to send pictures of any fun projects I do later on.
Thank you, Dr. Walsh. I enjoyed getting to work with you on the Brill’s Companion. The fact that you did everything you could to make it so I could have this opportunity means the world to me. Not many students can say they got to work in their dream occupation in college, so I’m very fortunate and grateful.
Thank you, Mr. Bill and Mrs. Nancy Drazga. I’m going to miss getting to hang out with you guys. We’ll definitely have to keep in touch. You have been so generous to me, giving me a place to stay over the summer so I could work on the Brill’s Companion and even putting up with my kidney stones and morphine-induced puns at the hospital.
Thank you to the English professors, including Dr. Gillin, Dr. Walsh, Dr. Dubrow, Dr. Mooney, Dr. Wagner, Dr. Kurzen, Dr. Rydel, Dr. Hall, and Dr. O’Connor. Whether it was through class, meeting you for an Elm article, passing by at church, or even meeting for advising and thesis, you have all helped me develop as a writer and as a person.
Thank you, Lindsay Lusby. You’ve always been so friendly and would tell me when someone saw and/or liked my articles.
Additionally, thank you, Mom, Dad, Mikey, and Dodger for making this experience possible with your support and constant reminders to just do my best. I love you guys!
Overall, the only thing I’d like to ask WC—the faculty, staff, and remaining students—is to keep writing alive here. This campus is so unique and special, and I firmly believe its strength in literary arts is one of the vital arteries here, if not the heart itself.
Well, I guess that’s it. The only other message I’d like to end with is to just make memories: meet new people, try new things. It ultimately comes down to you to make your experience worth remembering, no matter how tough the work or how long the nights get. I know my experience here has been worth it. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. If you can face life with a smile, it seems to somehow smile back at you, even if it’s not in the way you would’ve expected.