There are a lot of things I didn’t learn in college.
I still set off the smoke alarm when making grilled cheese sandwiches, I can’t tell you much about dinosaurs (despite having taken the class “Dinosaurs and Other Failures”) and I wouldn’t know where to begin with algorithms or anthropology.
But in four years, I’ve gone from being a premed student to an English major, I’ve been an activist, a GDI, a sorority girl, back to a GDI, an almost-IM sports champion, a volunteer in prisons, a basketball coach, a Spaniard, a Daily writer, a Daily photographer, a student and a Michigan fan.
But when asked to define myself, I always end up using the word “writer.” I used to think that was solely because of my experience at The Michigan Daily, but to be honest, I’m not sure how much the Daily taught me to write so much as it allotted me the space to do so.
It’s been a pleasure covering sports teams for three years. But more than anything, I realized the Daily has taught me how to be an adult. It taught me to be grateful, to apologize when you should and to give everything you can because someday, somehow, it will come back to you (Quid pro quo, John Rubadeau).
So, I think I’ll use this last byline to do all of that.
Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with. The good and the bad have made me the writer I am today.
Thank you to whoever subsidizes the cost of the vending machine at the Daily. It’s been nice spending just 50 cents on a can of Coca-Cola to help me finish my articles.
Thank you to my friends. Mostly, to my four roommates who, for the better part of this year, had no idea which state I was in or when I’d be coming home. You are all wonderful, and the regret of my Daily career will be never writing the ex-athletes feature. I’m sure it would’ve been Pulitzer worthy. My bad.
Patrick, for the past two years you’ve been offering me quotes for stories. Considering I never covered the football team, they’ve been worthless. But for today, here you go.
“The early bird gets the worm,” Patrick Collins said Monday. “The second mouse gets the cheese.”
On a less serious note (thanks for the transition Nez, but you still can’t date my little sister), I would like to apologize to my professors. I don’t think I was ever anyone’s favorite student. I’ve skipped far more classes than I should’ve and I’ve been half asleep for the others.
I’ve often gotten comments on my papers that read: You write better on deadline than you do for my class. And there’s always the inevitable groan, “Oh, you write for the Daily.” (Read: School is your No. 2 priority and I hate you.)
And since you’re probably reading this, sorry to my parents who’ve just realized how much I didn’t prioritize my schoolwork/classes/exams considering you’re the ones who paid for this education. But let’s be serious, how many of my final papers have you read? None. How many of my Daily articles? Almost all.
You can’t be that upset. I was never going to study medicine or calculus. There are people who have a passion for that, and I appreciate that those people are out there because I am not one of them.
I’ve put in countless hours at 420 Maynard St. I’ve spent more money on coffee than I ever earned here and I’d like to think that I’ve helped keep a few of the restaurants on State Street afloat during this recession.
I’ve done my best to separate myself from being a fan at the events I covered. But as I sat on the baseline at the Duke/Michigan basketball game this year, I wanted to tell Coach Beilein that I think he’s a great coach. More importantly, I wanted to tell him I think he’s a good man.
Had I not spent the past three years seeing these athletes as people and seeing the emotion behind the moments that make them such, I’m not sure if I’d see him as anything more than a basketball coach. Writing has made me more human and helped me to see others in the same light.
I think in 10 or 20 years, I’ll really start to understand how much the Daily gave me. And in these four years when I was in classrooms learning how much I didn’t/wouldn’t ever/couldn’t ever know, I was learning who I was and what I could do on the second floor of 420 Maynard.
It was the most frustrating and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I hope it continues to be that way as long as I can write, because if I can find a place like the Daily and fellow writers that work as hard as they do (for as little as they do), I’ll be in a very special place.
So thank you to those who deserve it, sorry to those who desire it and goodbye to those who have read this.
—Jennings will be graduating in a week and a half and leaving Michigan sometime thereafter. Until then, she can be found at Dominick’s and can be reached at email@example.com.