“Writing a weekly column is a lot of commitment and responsibility, Susannah. I just don’t think you’re ready yet.”
…said Steve Watkins, former faculty adviser to the UMW Bullet. Three years later, I am writing you my 60th and final “Susannigans.”
Nobody selected me to be a columnist. My sophomore year, I was elected Viewpoints editor of the Bullet, which carries with it an obligation to fill two newspaper pages with lively and thought-out student opinions every single week. The Bullet is lucky to get one Letter-to-the-Editor per issue, so I decided to fill in the rest of the holes myself. I started a column because there was nothing else to print. Plus, I had thought of a really cute name.
After a few of my self-humoring musings went to print, the unimaginable happened: people actually read them. Strangers started adding me on Facebook and nodding at me on Campus Walk. I’ll never forget the first drunken “OMG ARE YOU THE SUSANNIGANS GIRL?” I experienced at a party. After I won a state-wide award, Professor Watkins ate his doubting words, and has since been a wonderfully encouraging mentor.
Almost every aspect of my college life has been made public. My columns have touched on growing up, Facebook, break-ups, studying abroad, haircuts, unrequited love, job interviews and even male strippers. While I always wobbled over the line of endearing vulnerability and TMI, my overlying message was always lighthearted, and always the same. In a time as confusing and high-pressurized as college, the ability to laugh at yourself is the only thing that will keep you sane.
If anything I’ve written has given one person something to smile at, one person something to relate to, then I have achieved my ultimate goal as a writer.
But before I leap Ugg-boot-first into the real world (a.k.a. move back in with Mom and Dad until the economy picks up), I want to thank you, dear readers. Thank you for giving me the time of day. Your attention is invaluable.
As I’ve written before, I hated Mary Washington freshman year. It wasn’t until I left my residence hall, until I joined the newspaper, until I actually started trying, that I grew to adore it.
Whether you want to be a writer or a singer or a scholar or Civil War re-enactor, ignore the naysayers and just do it. Speak up, start your own club, run in an election you don’t think you have a shot in. You’re probably more ready than you think you are. Whether you have one semester left at UMW or seven, it’s gonna fly by. Don’t forget to take risks and have fun.
And keep reading the Bullet.
I’m definitely going to sorely miss my weekly opportunity to rant. Maybe I’ll start a blog. Susannigans.com certainly has a nice ring to it.
Goodbye, Mary Wash.