Farewell letters from the Collegian’s senior staff

The seniors say farewell.

Julianne Tran
When I first started writing for The Collegian, we had just returned from a semester cut short by the pandemic. I remember sitting in my dark, first floor apartment wondering what the supposed “new normal” was going to look like amid COVID regulations that restricted most interactions and organic encounters with friends and peers. I had just switched majors and the weight of the unknown pressed upon me. At the same time, I was filled with anticipation for what was to come, having emerged from the shadow of home-isolation and the ever wretched time of decision-making and self-assessment.

I turned to my laptop and started writing a story about some movie or TV show I recently watched, attempting to weave my words together as I eased into the process of writing and rewriting, reading and rereading. By the end of it, I looked over my article, proud of some of the phrases I was able to craft and laughing at some of the weird, little notes that I would probably be the only one to find funny.

It would only be published online for the few readers who happened to stumble upon The Collegian’s website during the old, darker COVID times when we couldn’t print issues on campus. Despite this, I remember feeling like writing these stories was a small gift to myself — a moment to take pride in my work, not for the sake of its success, but for its intrinsic value in just being mine. My own words, strung together. My voice, cemented in little letters on a screen.

My time in college has been a whirlwind of change — discovering who I am, what I love, what I believe, what I am curious about, and who I want to be. I look back on these past three years with immense gratitude for every experience, every friendship, every class, every growing pain, every humiliation and every moment that filled my heart with cheer and overwhelming joy.

Thank you to The Collegian and Collegian staff for everything. For the chances to write my thoughts, albeit some uncharacteristically contentious, others completely benign and generally frivolous. For the Sunday mornings and haphazard conversations. Thank you readers. Thank you TU — you gave us much to cherish, much to criticize and much to remember.

I wish you all well. Signing off,

Adam Walsh

I was not particularly high on myself when starting college, and dealing with various sources of trauma led to my decision to attend TU. I simply was not ready to be a functional adult without the supervision of my parents.

A harsh but necessary judgment, I can say that I have improved massively over the course of my undergraduate career. I credit quite a few people with that, namely God, but also through the interactions with the multitude of excellent people I have had the joy of knowing through the university. Aside from one class that I utterly despised, I have fond memories of all my professors. I’ve said it quite often, but the faculty and support staff here are extraordinarily talented and capable individuals, not to mention how much they care about their students and disciplines. Thank you all.

Similarly, thank you to the vast number of people I have met over the years. Although some of those relationships ended in heartbreak or failure, I am thankful for them. Each situation taught me something new about myself and has helped prepare me for the future. For those that have shown me immense love — or at least tolerance — it cannot be stated how much I treasure your willingness to be around me.

For the paper itself, I find it rather ridiculous that I’ve written so much. I’ve visited each of the sections, trying my hand at them all to various degrees of success. But where else could I call the former-president of TU a possessed cheese smeller then seriously remark on the structure of that same university? I credit Anna Johns for getting me into this mess, and I hope you don’t feel too called out for this. However, if you have had a problem with what I’ve written, now you know who to blame.

The entire editing staff at the paper has been a joy to work with, especially with Justin as the Editor-in-Chief. The detail-oriented nature of editing has really lit a passion for the art in my heart, and even though I get paid very well, it has become a source of play instead of work. I look forward to seeing how the editors and writers we all leave behind grow and develop, and I expect one of them to be Editor-in-Chief after Zach leaves office.

Now I’ve written too much, but as long as it’s shorter than the SA article, I think I can get away with it (and thank you all who let me get away with far too much).

Love y’all. See ya starside.

Justin Klopfer

I started writing for The Collegian in 2019 because I could get free tickets to Circle Cinema. Three years later, I still love writing movie reviews, but I’ve branched out quite a bit. I’ve covered international, national, state and campus news. Writing articles gave me a perspective I’d have no chance at obtaining otherwise. So many stories to tell, people to meet and opinions to spew. Reading my fellow students’ stories, opinions, jokes and media tastes is always enriching and never boring. My faith in the importance of journalism only grew over the years, and I truly hope the journalistic spirit flourishes at TU.

The pandemic took its toll on The Collegian, and the paper is still recovering from a tenuous time. I’m immensely thankful to all our editors and writers who held on — every one of you provided something absolutely vital. Sundays wouldn’t be the same without you. I hope working at The Collegian has been as enjoyable and enlightening for you as it has been for me. And to those who take the time to read The Collegian: thank you.

The end of my time at The Collegian is also the end of my time at TU. I found so many of my passions at TU — only here could a computer science major also be the Editor-of-Chief of the school paper and dedicate four semesters to a research project on modernist literature. They were a turbulent four years, but were still filled with amazing memories and people I’ll always love. I’ve seen my friends grow over the years and achieve such great things. It makes me so sad to think we’ll never all live together like this again. Finals season never feels like a proper send-off, especially when it’s the last one. Here’s to the graduates, the writers, the readers, the editors, the storytellers and the truth-seekers. Happy trails.

Logan Guthrie

I started writing for the Collegian in 2019 on a whim because I saw a sports pitch that looked interesting to me. At the end of my junior year, I was approached to come on staff as an editor. I was still doing sports as an editor at the time, but I have been able to branch out and grow as a writer and editor in other sections as well.

Working for the Collegian has been an incredible experience and I have been privileged to work with some amazing people and made friendships that I hope will last for a very long time. I have gained new perspectives on the inner workings of journalism as well as world events, and I hope that I can take these experiences with me as I move on from my undergraduate days here at TU.

I would like to thank the Collegian staff from the fall that took a chance on hiring a Geoscience and Anthropology student that didn’t know anything about being a newspaper editor. I will always be grateful for the opportunity that I have had here and the great memories I have made. Especially thank you to our Spring 2022 Editor-in-Chief Justin Klopfer and Managing Editor Adam Walsh for their hard work and dedication this past semester and pushing all of the staff to make our newspaper the best that it can be.

It truly has been one of the best experiences of my life to work here at the Collegian and I am very excited to be able to look back at the times we have had and to see the work of the next Collegian staff in the fall. Good luck everyone with the rest of your semester!

Anna Johns

So, this is pretty bonkers to write. I first joined The Collegian in fall 2018 when I was just a little goon of a man, and now, following the pattern of my Collegian career, I write this farewell letter at the absolute last minute in the office.

My Collegian experience has taken many forms: as a freshman student writer, feeling out of place and unbearably shy with the loud, affable upperclassmen around me; a sophomore Social Media and Website Manager, still shy but definitely pushing my luck; and a junior and senior Satire Editor, my ultimate, most impressive form. And now it’s up to you, young one, Child of the Prophecy, to kill me and steal my power. You must strike me in the heart with the dagger forged by the fabled Stone of the Almighty and suck the blood from my pulsing wound. #Slay!

I think joining this rinky dinky school newspaper has been one of the most formative parts of my college experience. I still remember the overwhelming feeling of when I first went to a Collegian meeting: there were no seats because the room was so packed with loud, funny people who were obviously familiar with one another, slinging clever quips and making me feel incredibly out of place. This feeling didn’t last long — I kept coming to meetings, memorized faces and names and created impactful friendships. For my articles, I interviewed people I’d never be brave enough to talk to. When I lacked confidence in my voice and presenting myself, I wrote commentary and satire articles. The Collegian, without a doubt, has been instrumental in my journey of self-acceptance and courage. Words are not enough to express how incredibly thankful I am for this student newspaper and what it has done for me.

With the pandemic, The Collegian’s draw has dwindled. Now, we’re lucky if we have, like, one person who isn’t on the Editorial Board attending a meeting. Still, there is so much potential here. It sounds a little ridiculous for me to say that writing articles in my spare time (usually on Saturday night or Sunday morning, oopsie poopsie) has altered me in such a drastic way, but I cannot emphasize enough the value of finding your voice, even if its muddled and intertwined with stupid jokes about medieval weaponry, seducing mothers and saying former TU President Gerard Clancy summons rats in the tennis courts.

I’ve read a lot of senior farewell letters. I’ve said goodbye to a lot of friends. And now, here I am in this out-of-body experience writing my own. What the hell is up with that? I feel like I’m writing a reflective journal of my time in the Korean War.

Thank you to the people I’ve met writing this newspaper, for the moments of laughs, Alexa uprisings and Wok Wok outings. I am incredibly grateful and forever changed, even if Managing Editor Adam Walsh is making me question writing such a sentimental letter because he’s currently talking about the Once-Ler. I have bright hopes for everyone who will continue on next year and the students to come. Smooch, mwah, etc.

Jihan Aldada

The phrase, “all good things must come to an end” comes to mind when writing this letter in the dim hallway of the McFarlin Library. Looking back at my first day on campus, coming in as a transfer student in her second semester freshman year, I would’ve never imagined what was to come. Making friends was never a strong suit of mine, but there is something about the students in the English and Creative Writing majors at TU that almost prohibits you from leaving without at least 10 new Instagram followers.

The University of Tulsa has given me a pretty good idea about what the world and the people in it look like. Growing up in a small town, I didn’t see much diversity in the classroom and in my professors. Seeing others like me in the classroom or in passing gives me hope for a better future. I have come to really appreciate my environment here, in terms of a variety of different backgrounds and cultures. I felt really out of my comfort zone coming here as a transfer and also a commuter, but I just melted right into the crowd. From what I experienced in the last four years, there are no cliques, or secluded groups, or judgemental looks from those who think they are better or wealthier than you because we are all going through it together. “It” meaning life and its daily battles, struggles and hardships.

We’ve been through a lot, this graduating class. I won’t go into extensive detail on the college pandemic life we all endured, but it was certainly rough, to say the least. It is especially why I am proud of myself for finishing this degree. After going through the stress of online classes from home and the devastating loss my family and I suffered, getting this degree means everything. Not to say I probably won’t be in a classroom again after this year, because who knows … that master’s degree salary looks really nice, but as for now, I think I owe it to myself to enjoy the moments that come after we move that tassel to the other side.

I want to close with a massive thank you to both TU and The Collegian, for providing me with memories and friendships I will forever cherish. Oh, and thank you to my sweet Conner, whom I can now hangout with on Sundays.

Hana Saad

I pen this at nearly midnight. Finals and senior celebration plans have kept me busy. There’s my future to think about too — but I think I’ve got that planned. At least part of it.

This isn’t about the future though. It’s about the past 3.5 years at The Collegian. First as a timid freshman, barely confident enough to write her own articles, then as a copy editor and finally as a student writer during my senior year.

I never expected any of these things, but someone at The Collegian saw something in me. Although I had to turn down the Editor-in-Chief position due to mental health reasons, I still wanted to be involved with The Collegian, even if only in a small way.

I’m almost more grateful it turned out this way. I got to write more than ever before, including for a weekly column I created, where I reviewed different podcasts each week!

My favorite article was one I wrote for the Arab Film Festival in October. I felt like a little journalist, armed with my pens and journals. I even did an interview with the director of the festival. I love getting the chance to talk to people about their work and passions, something The Collegian allowed me to do numerous times.

Although I sometimes wish I had done more during my time at The Collegian, I can only look back fondly at the times spent working on Sundays with the team and the hours spent writing articles. It’s not often you get the chance to write and share your ideas with the public. The Collegian allowed me to do that and I’m going to miss it. If you’re a burgeoning writer, consider writing for The Collegian! You won’t regret it.

Post Author: tucollegian