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Senior Farewell | Mourning lost pranks, celebrating memories

Photo Editor Quinn Fitzgerald reflects on Franklin College

By Quinn Fitzgerald


I don’t know whether to be comedic, mournful, grateful or indifferent.

Right now, I should be on campus making plans to hang out with friends and celebrating the end to my undergraduate education.

Instead, I am debating whether to host a fake graduation in my living room or in my dining room. I think my high school cap and gown are somewhere in this house.

Around this time, I had planned to prank each person in the Pulliam School of Journalism.

I would hide something from Ann Barton’s office create a scavenger hunt. The faculty would walk into yet another conference room meeting only to find their coasters with my face plastered on each one.

I was going to take random packages and stack them outside Ryan Gunterman’s office so the next time he arrived to work, there’d be a wall of boxes blocking his path.

There was something involving Joel Cramer’s chair, but it’s been a second since I planned these pranks.

It’s also been a second or two since I experienced a deadline night. As crazy and stressful as they were, I honestly looked forward to them. In those long hours, I saw faces I normally saw maybe once or twice a week. I would plan my entire day around deadline night, packing a bag full of items I might, but most likely didn’t, need in order to “survive” the night.

I won’t miss the stress though, so I’m not completely insane.

It’s been a good four years. Not the best start. I don’t think my first editor on The Franklin appreciated when I walked into her office and cried over almost missing a deadline. Now, I’ll even cry just thinking about a deadline. That’s growth, or a serious sign of concern.

It feels weird being one of only two seniors on staff. It’s a little lonely. Maybe it feels lonely because I’m the only staff member in my house. Anyway, the next part of my farewell is brought to you by COVID-19.

To my fellow staff members: find ways to make every situation worthwhile.

Every Thursday since the stay-at-home order began, I held one-on-one meetings with one of my photographers. It was 90% training and 10% exchanging stories about quarantine life. I appreciated those days, sharing laughs with someone who understood it all.

Choose to be happy, as my mom tells me, but don’t feel ashamed for however you feel about those lost opportunities.

I’m sad knowing I didn’t get to sign my last issue of The Franklin and rushing in between classes to hand-deliver them to Cindy Ibaugh, who happily greeted me every time she swiped my meal card.

Cindy is not only my number one fan. I wrote, photographed, and designed my first feature over her. Oddly enough, my last ever piece in The Franklin was in the most recent print edition when I wrote, photographed and designed a feature.

I have all of these memories I wrote down so that I’d never forget them.

When John Krull and Joel Cramer rushed to write letters of recommendations for me two times in one semester, I knew I would remember that.

When Hope Shrum, Carolina Puga Mendoza, and I carried our luggage through the rain to arrive at Shirk at 4 a.m., I knew I would never forget that.

When I forced Alexa Shrake and Tabby Fitzgerald (not related) to watch “Frozen” short films with me in the newsroom, I knew they would never forget that. I’m just kidding. They might forget that.

The other memories blur together a bit.

Shy, quiet Quinn. Solo newspaper deliveries (freshman initiation?). Holcomb’s inauguration. Trump’s inauguration. Overheard PSJ. PSJ sorority. The One with Shelby’s Broken Windshield Wiper in the Middle of a Storm on the Interstate. Hazing is wrong. Zoie and Nicole become my friends. Zoie and Nicole leave me. Not so shy, not so quiet Quinn. Ann’s soda on the cabinet. Sorry, Ann. Pizza. That copy room incident. Pizza. Every stereotypical Asian comment I’ve made. Pizza. Ray’s not injured. Ray taped an AP Style Book to his arm. Design class ate my printer money.

My life has been relatively good despite a pandemic taking over my senior year of college and physically separating me from my friends.

If I only have to worry about school and fighting moments of boredom and isolation, then I consider myself more than blessed.

Sure, I had expectations for the remainder of my senior year, and none of them involved COVID-19. And yes, I hate that I will spend my original graduation day moving out of my dorm room –– I really need to find that old cap and gown.

But life does not stop for anything. I have and will continue to attend every Zoom University meeting I can because I would rather make every effort to see familiar faces than to regret spending all of my time mourning the remainder of my last semester while watching Netflix in bed.

Well, I’ll do that, too. I have the time to anyway.


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