The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, goodbye

A confession: I’ve been thinking about this column since I was a freshman, and now that I’m settling in to write it, I’m not quite sure what to say. This is the last column I will write as a member of this publication, as I am set to graduate on May 13, and I’m not fully prepared to write it. I don’t want to write it. This column is a goodbye, and I’ve never been good with goodbyes.

The Torch isn’t an easy thing for someone like me to leave. I’ve been part of the newspaper since the very start of my freshman year, spending more hours in the office than in my dorm room. I’ve napped on our couch in between classes. I’ve eaten countless meals at our editing table. I’ve kept a change of clothes in our archive room for the last two years. I’ve poured my heart into each issue and each edition of Enter San Man.

I’m going to miss the Torch. I really am.

When I was a freshman, the Torch and its staff offered a sense of community and acceptance at St. John’s that, I’ll admit, I initially had trouble finding. Over time, the office became my safe haven, a place where I knew I could go to escape from — or, better yet, more productively handle — the problems going on in my life. I learned more than reporting, editing, and page design from the Torch — I learned how to mourn the loss of loved ones, how to mend a broken heart, and how to appreciate good friends and good whiskey.

I learned and harnessed my journalistic craft from some incredibly intelligent, talented and successful people here at St. John’s, most notably from professors Mark J. Prendergast, Dr. Judith Kramer, Dr. Frank Brady, Jim Baumbach, Tom Philipose, Dr. Harry Denny, Dr. Derek Owens, Dr. Stephen Sicari, Dr. Tom Kitts, Larry Pitilli, and Gabriel Brownstein. The lessons, wisdom and guidance I attained from all the hours I spent in their classrooms and offices have helped shape me, both as a writer and as a man, in ways I likely haven’t fully come to appreciate.

But the education I received in the classroom would not be complete without the lessons I learned from the people I have worked for and alongside over the years at the Torch. Each of you — but more specifically, Greg Leporati, Anthony Morreale, Laura Amato, Stephen Pinto, Christina Heiser, Justin Thrift, Nell O’Connor, Kristen Farmer, our trusty advisor Ellen Carey, and everyone who served with me on this past year’s editorial board — has played an important role in my journey through college and into young adulthood. I will cherish the memories we’ve made for as long as I live, and I love you all more than you’ll ever know.

Even as I prepare to graduate, there are things about St. John’s that I concede I’ll never understand — the infamous Montgoris Mist topping that list — and there are even more aspects of this University that have infuriated me over the years. One of the issues I never had the opportunity to write about in the Torch was that of the Vincentian Mission — one of service to the less fortunate — this University follows, and for the longest time I thought the St. John’s community had a warped sense of what that mission entailed.

“Vincentian,” at least from my own experience, was just another word for “Roman Catholic.” During my time at St. John’s, It was used liberally to justify some pretty horrible decisions made by administration and student leaders alike, one of the worst being last month’s “Rally for Religious Freedom,” during which only Catholics rallied in veiled protest of proposed federal legislation that would require the inclusion of contraceptives under most insurance plans.

But four years ago, St. John’s accepted me into its community without the fee, entrance essay or interview that other schools often require simply to review one’s application. The school even offered me an attractive scholarship package and a room in its resident village, even though my hometown is just 20 minutes away. While I understand this narrative is a common one for many St. John’s students, I can confidently say that no other school to which I was accepted blindly invested as much in my potential as a student and young man than St. John’s University.

Isn’t my acceptance to St. John’s truly a reflection of the Vincentian Mission? I wouldn’t even consider myself or my family “less fortunate,” and St. John’s still provided me with a college education, housing, and money so that I could mature into a man who would share that maturity with the world. It would have been silly of me to write that column because the Vincentian Mission had been used upon me, and I was the one who couldn’t see it — but I do now.

I owe the privilege of walking across that stage on Graduation Day to St. John’s University. I owe my future successes to St. John’s for putting its faith and resources in me for four years, and quite frankly, the rest of us do, too.

When I leave St. John’s on May 13, presumably for the last time, I will have earned the right to call this school my alma mater. For the rest of my life, this school will be my school. Knowing that fills me with an overwhelming sense of pride and an even larger debt of gratitude.

St. John’s, thanks for everything, the Torch and all.

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